Insp. Yves Forget, commander, East Algoma Detachment of Ontario Provincial Police has issued the rules of the road for e-bikes and mobility scooters.
By law, operators and passengers must be at least 16, Forget says in a media release. They must wear approved bicycle or motorcycle helmets. The bikes themselves can’t weigh more than 120 kilograms, bike and battery, and modifications to increase power output beyond 500 Watts or speed beyond 32 km/h are forbidden.
Bikes operate on the right side of the road, as close to the curb as practicable, about a metre, the release points out.
The pedals have to stay on the bike for it to remain under the Highway Traffic Act’s definition of a power-assisted bike. An operator of an e-bike without the pedals could face charges of operating a motor vehicle without registration and insurance.
Drivers suspended under the Criminal Code of Canada, impaired driving for example, cannot legally operate an e-bike. Those suspended under other circumstance should discuss the matter with a legal practitioner, the release says.
Carrying a passenger on an e-bike is legal only if it was designed for more than one person. Check the manufacturer’s information, Forget advises.
Operating an e-bike while impaired by alcohol or a drug falls under the Criminal Code. The Code’s definition of “motor vehicle” includes e-bikes. Operating an e-bike impaired could lead to a fine and/or jail time and a driving prohibition.
A wheelchair or medical scooter, meant for persons with limited mobility, does not require registration, licence plates, a driver’s licence or vehicle insurance, the release continues. Anyone at any age can ride a wheelchair.
Motorists and others who use the roads should treat those using wheelchairs as if they were pedestrians. The same laws under the Highway Traffic Act apply, Forget notes.
Municipal bylaws covering use of wheelchairs are common.
A sidewalk should be the first choice of someone using a wheelchair or medical scooter, the release says. Nonetheless, check local bylaws to ensure the sidewalks are open to such use.
Should a route have no wheelchair-accessible curb, operators should return to a sidewalk at the first available opportunity, OPP cautions.
Travel on the left shoulder of a roadway, facing oncoming traffic, if no sidewalk is available. Look for a way to get onto a sidewalk safely and as soon as you can, the release says.
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