When are motorcycles covered by the Lemon Law? California consumers are entitled to safe and reliable transportation, whether they buy a new (or certain used) car, SUV, truck or motorcycle – as long as it is registered for highway use by the DMV. It does not matter whether the vehicle has four wheels, or two wheels, or even three.
Our sources in Sacramento sent us this report from Kurtis Ming of the local CBS affiliate. Rita Uhren’s problems with her Bombardier Can-Am Spyder Roadster started soon after she bought the $27,500 vehicle last year. When Uhren experienced severe driveability issues, including dangerous power loss on the freeway, she sought relief under the lemon law.
Bombardier makes a wide variety of ATVs, snowmobiles, and other off-road sport vehicles. But this three-wheeler was marketed for highway use. Motor Trend magazine had previously noted the manufacturer claimed the Can-Am Spyder achieved zero-60 mph acceleration in 4.5 seconds. Unfortunately no one said anything about unexpected deceleration.
Uhren is lucky she bought the vehicle in California. Some state lemon laws do not cover motorcycles, but the California law applies to a wide variety of motorized bikes. The Song Beverly Consumer Warranty Act defines a motor vehicle to include any motorcycle registered under the Vehicle Code, or “street legal.” In other words California lawmakers wisely recognized that if a vehicle is in the stream of traffic, it is not just a toy. The lemon law excludes only motorcycles that are to be “operated or used exclusively off the highways.” After all, the purpose of the lemon law is not just to benefit the vehicle owners themselves, but for the safety of all of us who are driving on public highways as well.