Bipartisan trikes: Go ahead Colorado, get your tuk-tuk on

Have you ever taken a ride in a tuk-tuk? You know, a motorized rickshaw? A grownup trike?

Well, hop aboard Colorado! The state legislature just passed a bill allowing anyone with a driver’s license to operate a “tuk-tuk.”

In fact, Colorado has been puttering ahead on this particular brand of eco-friendly transit for the past couple years. There are already taxi tuk-tuks rolling around downtown Denver and most famously, the Denver zoo runs a tuk-tuk off the “gasification of animal pellets.” That trike is poo-powered.

State law used to classify these oversized trikes as motorcycles, even though tuk-tuks have a cab and don’t go that fast. The state required tuk-tuk drivers to have a special license, and passengers had to wear protective gear.

Never fear. Thanks to the nifty work of the bipartisan duo Rep. Paul Rosenthal, D-Denver, and Sen. Tim Neville, R-Littleton, the trikes have been liberated.

Today the legislature passed a bill to make it ultra-easy for folks to get on the trike train. If your three-wheeler has a windscreen, seat belts and maxes out at 25 mph, you no longer have to get a motorcycle license to drive it, make child passengers wear helmets or foist sunglasses on everyone aboard.

Rosenthal said he was happy for this bipartisan agreement for deregulation. It will give a boost to an emerging green industry in the state, he said.

“I look forward to this being another mode of transit for Coloradans and tourists that is zero emission,” said Rosenthal. “The tuk-tuks currently for sale and in use are electric, so this will help us lower our carbon footprint.”

Right now the tuk-tuk taxis are mostly zoned for downtown Denver, but Rosenthal said they’re slated for Red Rocks and ski areas as well.


Tuk-tuks, not jut for Bangkok. Image by Didier Baertschiger