TITLE 31
Motor and Other vehicles

CHAPTER 31-1
Definitions and General Code Provisions

SECTION 31-1-3


§ 31-1-3 Types of vehicles.

(a)(1) "Antique motor car" means any motor vehicle that is more than twenty-five (25) years old. Unless fully inspected and meeting inspection requirements, the vehicle may be maintained solely for use in exhibitions, club activities, parades, and other functions of public interest. The vehicle may also be used for limited enjoyment and purposes other than the previously mentioned activities, but may not be used primarily for the transportation of passengers or goods over any public highway.

(2) After the vehicle has met the requirements of state inspection, a registration plate may be issued to it on payment of the standard fee. The vehicle may be operated on the highways of this and other states, and may, in addition to the registration plate, retain the designation "antique" and display an "antique plate".

(3) For any vehicle that is more than twenty-five (25) years old, the division of motor vehicles may also issue or approve, subject to rules and regulations that may be promulgated by the administrator, a "year of manufacture plate" for the vehicle that is an exact replica plate designating the exact year of manufacture of the vehicle.

(b)(1) "Antique motorcycle" means any motorcycle that is more than twenty-five (25) years old. Unless fully inspected and meeting inspection requirements, the vehicle shall be maintained solely for use in exhibitions, club activities, parades, and other functions of public interest. The vehicle may also be used for limited enjoyment and purposes other than the previously mentioned activities, but may not be used primarily for the transportation of passengers or goods over any public highway; and

(2) After the vehicle has met the requirements of state inspection, a registration plate may be issued to it, on payment of the standard fee, and the vehicle may be operated on the highways of this and other states, and may, in addition to the registration plate, retain the designation "antique" and display an "antique plate".

(c) "Authorized emergency vehicle" means vehicles of the fire department (fire patrol); police vehicles; vehicles used by Rhode Island state marshals in the department of corrections; vehicles used by the state bomb squad within the division of state fire marshal; vehicles of municipal departments or public service corporations designated or authorized by the administrator as ambulances and emergency vehicles; and privately owned motor vehicles of volunteer firefighters or privately owned motor vehicles of volunteer ambulance drivers or attendants, as authorized by the department chief or commander and permitted by the Rhode Island Association of Fire Chiefs and Rhode Island Association of Police Chiefs Joint Committee for Volunteer Warning Light Permits.

(d) "Automobile" means, for registration purposes, every motor vehicle carrying passengers other than for hire.

(e) "Bicycle" means every vehicle having two (2) tandem wheels, except scooters and similar devices, propelled exclusively by human power, and upon which a person may ride.

(f) "Camping recreational vehicle" means a vehicular type camping unit, certified by the manufacturer as complying with ANSI A119.2 Standards, designed primarily as temporary living quarters for recreation that has either its own motor power or is mounted on, or towed by, another vehicle. The basic units are tent trailers, fifth-wheel trailers, motorized campers, travel trailers, and pick-up campers.

(g) "Electric motorized bicycles" means a motorized bicycle that may be propelled by human power or electric motor power, or by both, with an electric motor rated not more than two (2) (S.A.E.) horsepower, that is capable of a maximum speed of not more than twenty-five (25) miles per hour.

(h) "Electric personal assistive mobility device" ("EPAMD") is a self-balancing, non-tandem two-wheeled (2) device, designed to transport only one person, with an electric propulsion system that limits the maximum speed of the device to fifteen (15) miles per hour.

(i) Fifth-wheel trailer: A towable recreational vehicle, not exceeding four hundred (400) square feet in area, designed to be towed by a motorized vehicle that contains a towing mechanism that is mounted above or forward of the tow vehicle's rear axle and that is eligible to be registered for highway use.

(j) "Hearse" means every motor vehicle used for transporting human corpses. A hearse shall be considered an automobile for registration purposes.

(k) "Jitney or bus" means: (1) A "public bus" that includes every motor vehicle, trailer, semi-trailer, tractor trailer, or tractor trailer combination, used for the transportation of passengers for hire, and operated wholly or in part upon any street or highway as a means of transportation similar to that afforded by a street railway company, by indiscriminately receiving or discharging passengers, or running on a regular route or over any portion of one, or between fixed termini; or (2) A "private bus" that includes every motor vehicle other than a public bus or passenger van designed for carrying more than ten (10) passengers and used for the transportation of persons, and every motor vehicle other than a taxicab designed and used for the transportation of persons for compensation.

(l) "Motorcycle" means only those motor vehicles having not more than three (3) wheels in contact with the ground and a saddle on which the driver sits astride, except bicycles with helper motors as defined in subsection (n) of this section.

(m) "Motor-driven cycle" means every motorcycle, including every motor scooter, with a motor of no greater than five (5) horsepower, except bicycles with helper motors as defined in subsection (n) of this section.

(n) "Motorized bicycles" means two-wheel (2) vehicles that may be propelled by human power or helper power, or by both, with a motor rated not more than four and nine-tenths (4.9) horsepower and not greater than fifty (50) cubic centimeters, that are capable of a maximum speed of not more than thirty (30) miles per hour.

(o) Motorized camper: A camping recreational vehicle, built on, or permanently attached to, a self-propelled motor vehicle chassis cab or van that is an integral part of the completed vehicle.

(p) "Motorized tricycles" means tricycles that may be propelled by human power or helper motor, or by both, with a motor rated no more than 1.5 brake horsepower that is capable of a maximum speed of not more than thirty (30) miles per hour.

(q) "Motorized wheelchair" means any self-propelled vehicle, designed for, and used by, a person with a disability that is incapable of speed in excess of eight (8) miles per hour.

(r) "Motor scooter" means a motor-driven cycle with a motor rated not more than four and nine-tenths (4.9) horsepower and not greater than fifty (50) cubic centimeters that is capable of a maximum speed of not more than thirty (30) miles per hour.

(s) "Motor vehicle" means every vehicle that is self-propelled or propelled by electric power obtained from overhead trolley wires, but not operated upon rails, except vehicles moved exclusively by human power, an EPAMD and electric motorized bicycles as defined in subsection (g) of this section, and motorized wheelchairs.

(t) "Motor vehicle for hire" means every motor vehicle other than jitneys, public buses, hearses, and motor vehicles used chiefly in connection with the conduct of funerals, to transport persons for compensation in any form, or motor vehicles rented for transporting persons either with or without furnishing an operator.

(u) Park trailer: A camping recreational vehicle that is eligible to be registered for highway use and meets the following criteria: (1) Built on a single chassis mounted on wheels; and (2) Certified by the manufacturer as complying with ANSI A119.5.

(v) "Passenger van" means every motor vehicle capable of carrying ten (10) to fourteen (14) passengers plus an operator and used for personal use or on a not-for-hire basis. Passenger vans may be used for vanpools, transporting passengers to and from work locations, provided that the operator receives no remuneration other than free use of the vehicle.

(w) "Pedal carriages" (also known as "quadricycles") means a nonmotorized bicycle with four (4) or more wheels operated by one or more persons for the purpose of, or capable of, transporting additional passengers in seats or on a platform made a part of or otherwise attached to the pedal carriage. The term shall not include a bicycle with trainer or beginner wheels affixed to it, nor shall it include a wheelchair or other vehicle with the purpose of operation by or for the transportation of a handicapped person, nor shall it include a tricycle built for a child or an adult with a seat for only one operator and no passenger.

(x) "Pick-up camper": A camping recreational vehicle consisting of a roof, floor, and sides designed to be loaded onto and unloaded from the back of a pick-up truck.

(y) "Rickshaws" (also known as "pedi cabs") means a nonmotorized bicycle with three (3) wheels operated by one person for the purpose of, or capable of, transporting additional passengers in seats or on a platform made a part of, or otherwise attached to, the rickshaw. This definition shall not include a bicycle built for two (2) where the operators are seated one behind the other, nor shall it include the operation of a bicycle with trainer or beginner wheels affixed thereto, nor shall it include a wheelchair or other vehicle with the purpose of operation by or for the transportation of a handicapped person.

(z) "School bus" means every motor vehicle owned by a public or governmental agency, when operated for the transportation of children to or from school; or privately owned, when operated for compensation for the transportation of children to or from school.

(aa) "Suburban vehicle" means every motor vehicle with a convertible or interchangeable body or with removable seats, usable for both passenger and delivery purposes, and including motor vehicles commonly known as station or depot wagons or any vehicle into which access can be gained through the rear by means of a hatch or trunk and where the rear seats can be folded down to permit the carrying of articles as well as passengers.

(bb) "Tent trailer": A towable recreational vehicle that is mounted on wheels and constructed with collapsible partial side walls that fold for towing by another vehicle and unfold for use and that is eligible to be registered for highway use.

(cc) "Trackless trolley coach" means every motor vehicle that is propelled by electric power obtained from overhead trolley wires, but not operated on rails.

(dd) Travel trailer: A towable recreational vehicle, not exceeding three hundred twenty (320) square feet in area, designed to be towed by a motorized vehicle containing a towing mechanism that is mounted behind the tow vehicle's bumper and that is eligible to be registered for highway use.

(ee) "Vehicle" means every device in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, except devices used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1950, ch. 2595, art. 1, § 2; P.L. 1950, ch. 2595, art. 1, § 3; P.L. 1953 (1st S.S.), ch. 3236, § 1; P.L. 1954, ch. 3378, § 1; G.L. 1956, § 31-1-3; P.L. 1964, ch. 214, § 1; P.L. 1967, ch. 217, § 1; P.L. 1973, ch. 252, § 1; P.L. 1976, ch. 58, § 3; P.L. 1976, ch. 64, § 1; P.L. 1976, ch. 64, § 2; P.L. 1978, ch. 377, § 1; P.L. 1981, ch. 413, § 1; P.L. 1985, ch. 116, § 1; P.L. 1987, ch. 476, § 1; P.L. 1988, ch. 369, § 1; P.L. 1988, ch. 654, § 1; P.L. 1990, ch. 208, § 4; P.L. 1997, ch. 186, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 83, § 68; P.L. 1999, ch. 130, § 68; P.L. 1999, ch. 447, § 1; P.L. 2002, ch. 56, § 2; P.L. 2002, ch. 136, § 1; P.L. 2002, ch. 360, § 1; P.L. 2002, ch. 397, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 308, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 380, § 1; P.L. 2006, ch. 11, § 1; P.L. 2006, ch. 12, § 1; P.L. 2010, ch. 239, § 25; P.L. 2014, ch. 344, § 1; P.L. 2014, ch. 389, § 1; P.L 2014, ch. 454, § 1; P.L. 2014, ch. 547, § 1.)