What is the Sidecar/Trike Education Program (S/TEP)?

Trikes and sidecars are not automobiles. It is less obvious, but equally important to understand that three-wheeled motorcycles do not steer, brake or handle like their two-wheeled cousins. Operating a trike or sidecar outfit requires specialized knowledge and skills which are uniquely different than operating either a motorcycle or an automobile.

The course addresses basic set-up, emergency braking, swerving, weight shifting, steering reversion, and managing wheel loft. Instruction incorporates lessons on tip-over lines and ballasting, and essential crash avoidance techniques unique to three-wheelers. Prior experience operating two-wheelers is helpful but not required. S/TEP courses are typically offered in one day, usually on a Saturday or Sunday.

Who is eligible to enroll in the S/TEP course?

Any Illinois resident at least 16 years of age who holds a valid motorcycle license or instruction permit is eligible to enroll.

Students must bring their own mechanically sound, street legal trike/sidecar rig to every session by legal means. Sidecars that are solidly attached to a conventional motorcycle, trike conversions with motorcycle based roots, and “reverse trikes" with two wheels in front such as the Can-Am Spyder are all acceptable. Three wheeled motorcycles that lean, trikes based on automobile powered conversions, and motorcycles with outrigger wheels are not appropriately designed to participate in S/TEP courses.

No student will be required to share their trike or sidecar with another individual, however, family members or friends may share a trike or sidecar in the same course if they choose to. Proof of vehicle ownership and valid insurance coverage will be verified at the first class session.

Your motorcycle should be in good repair. Here is a form that can help you perform a quick inspection.


A valid motorcycle license or permit is required to take the S/TEP course. Completion of the S/TEP does not waive the test requirements for obtaining a 2 or 3 wheel motorcycle license through the Secretary of State but may qualify for a discount on insurance.

What Gear You Need to Bring:

  • A DOT approved helmet (novelty helmets will not be allowed)
  • Eye protection, for our purposes sunglasses or regular prescription glasses are sufficient
  • Long sleeved jacket or shirt, keep in mind how the temperature may change during your course
  • Full fingered gloves, leather preferred, an open back discouraged but acceptable
  • Long pants of denim or other heavy material, in good repair e.g. no holes, bell bottoms should be avoided
  • Over the ankle (ankle bone MUST be completely covered) footwear, a low heel is best, work/hiking/cowboy type boots or leather/heavy synthetic material high-tops are acceptable, cloth/canvas gym shoes or “Uggs-style” boots will not be allowed