3 Wheel Bicycle Pros & Cons

Updated March 23, 2017

Three-wheel bicycles, or tricycles, are a common toy for a child, but they are also used by adults more than one might imagine. From vendors selling food and drink to vacationers cruising down a beach, there are many fun and practical uses for a three-wheel bike. As with any piece of equipment, however, there are strengths and weaknesses to consider before use.


Because the tricycle has three wheels, there is no need to balance. Styles vary from two wheels in the front or the back, but the triangular structure allows the rider to simply sit and pedal. When riders come to a stop sign or light, there is no need to dismount.This makes the tricycle a good option for beginners; some models even come with a safety belt. The smooth and easy handling also makes the three-wheel bike great for sight seeing: riders don’t have to pay much attention to the bike and instead can focus on the scenery. Because of the sturdy design and balanced frame, the three-wheel bike is also nice for transporting material. This avoids the need for gas or electricity, and promotes exercise at the same time.


Because their frames require more material and equipment (eg, an additional wheel), three-wheel bikes are heavy. It is harder to climb hills, ride over rough terrain or gain speed. Riding a three-wheel over long distances, therefore, may be difficult. Some models, called recumbent bicycles, are designed so that the rider is close to the ground, with her legs stretched out before her. This model is designed for speed and distance, but consequently its low frame may be harder to see by motorists. A low design is also harder to climb in and out of. The triangular frame, while easy to balance, is also easy to tip over, especially when taking turns quickly. According to an article published on PubMed, adult tricycles caused a high number of accidents and injuries, leading the authors to call the bikes “unstable, dangerous machines.”


As with any machine or piece of equipment, caution and practice encourages safety. The PubMed authors suggest that “Accident prevention must begin with education of both parents and children about the potential dangers of three-wheelers.” Acknowledging both the pros and cons of a three-wheel bike and keeping the bike’s limitations in mind, may help users avoid dangerous situations or from hurting themselves. Users may then capitalise on the tricycle’s benefits while minimising the negatives.

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About the Author

Augustus Clipper began writing professionally online in 2009. His areas of expertise include home gardening, landscape architecture and interior design. He received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and his Master of Arts in English literature from New York University.