Q&A - Rules for Scooters
QUESTION: My father is buying an electric scooter. He is wanting to know if there are any driving regulations that he should be aware of including;
- can he drive on the sidewalk or bicycle lanes,
- is it safe to park at trail heads (McDonald Park & the bird sanctuary trails),
- is there a problem with theft
- is insurance required and/or what kind of insurance should he have
The scooter is completely covered so he can drive it in Comox/Courtenay all winter.
ANSWER: When you say scooter, I'm expecting that you mean a motorized wheelchair used by a handicapped person.
These motorized personal mobility devices (MPMD) are not well regulated, either federally by Transport Canada or provincially here in BC. The Motor Vehicle Act does not definitely define what it calls a mechanically propelled invalid's chair.
The Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators issued a paper about regulating them back in 2010.
They are considered to be pedestrians and must follow the same rules that pedestrians do. So, yes, they can be used with caution on sidewalks but do not belong in bicycle lanes. No insurance is required beyond theft insurance that may be part of your usual household insurance. Check that with your insurance agent.
You may find this thesis on mobility scooter use and safety by Lorraine Kleinschroth of interest.
Sadly, like anything else, these devices are subject to theft. Don't leave them unlocked or unattended in any place that you would not leave anything of similar value. Thieves don't care about your handicap.