Most definitions of automobiles say they are motor vehicles that run on roads, have four wheels, and are usually used to transport people. However, there is a lot of debate about whether motorcycles qualify as cars or not.
Motorcycles were created by Ernest Michaux in France during the mid-Victorian era. They were equipped with a small spark ignition engine, a drivetrain, and pedals. These machines were often called bicycles.
During the late 19th century, a three-wheeler was designed with steerable front wheels and a horizontal single-cylinder gasoline engine. The engine produced 0.5 horsepower at 600 rpm.
Two-stroke-cycle designs were tested in the early 1900s. But automakers were inspired by sleek iconography of streamlining. Many cars were made of the finest materials and designed with elegance.
In the United States, the first commercially marketed motorcycle was manufactured by Charles Metz in Waltham, Massachusetts in 1898. This prompted a competition among automakers, leading to new designs and construction.
Motorcycles were a major breakthrough in automotive knowledge. While they were not a perfect replacement for cars, they were a huge advance.
Automobiles are more practical in light traffic situations. A car requires more parking space and can accommodate more passengers than a motorcycle. Moreover, the rider can travel faster, more comfortably, and safer.
However, the term “automobile” is frequently thrown around without clear meaning. This can lead to a patchwork of state regulations.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency first regulated emissions from motorcycles in 1980. By 2006, new motorcycles had to emit no more than 1.4 grams of hydrocarbons and nitric oxides per mile.