Why aren't there any 3-person motorcycles?

The most frustrating part of owning a motorcycle instead of a car? It’s not the cold or the rain—those can be taken care of with good gear—but the inability to take more than one person along for the ride.

Every motorcycle I’ve ever seen lacked space—or rather, pegs and handholds—for a third person. We’ve all seen pictures of entire families riding around on a motorcycle, so why haven’t any of the OEMs stepped up to the plate and made a motorcycle specifically equipped for more than two people? Sidecars, of course, can carry more than one person, but they can’t filter through traffic, consume more fuel, and—like cars—are a compromise for the 95% of the time that they aren’t full. No, I’m talking about a two-wheeler with three tandem seats.


There’s nothing inherently unsafe about the addition of a second passenger—just look at this WaveRunner. Every overloaded BMW GS proves that weight concerns aren’t valid either.

The laws I’ve found about motorcycle passengers seem to say that a passenger has to have footrests and be able to touch them. CA vehicle code, for example, says the following:

27800. It is unlawful for a driver of a motorcycle or a motorized bicycle to carry any other person thereon, except on a seat securely fastened to the machine at the rear of the driver and provided with footrests, or in a sidecar attached to a motorcycle and designed for the purpose of carrying a passenger. Every passenger on a motorcycle or a motorized bicycle shall keep his feet on the footrests while such vehicle is in motion.


An additional set of footpegs would do the trick, as would long floorboards on each side. The first passenger could hold the riders hips or a handle on the gas tank, and the second could have a backrest or a rear grab bar.

So, what’s stopping OEM’s from creating a 3-person bike?

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