Dear Cop - Motorized Wheel Chairs

What is the legal right of electric motorized wheel chairs driven by seniors I often see them in the bicycle lane. Are they considered a
motorized vehicle and should they be insured

Motorized wheel chairs have the same rules as pedestrians. The motorized wheel chairs are not supposed to be using the bicycle lanes. I will explain the laws in regards to the electric motorized wheel chairs:

A Motorized Wheelchair does not require registration, vehicle licence, driver's licence or vehicle insurance.

Motorized wheelchairs are treated as pedestrians. A motorized wheelchair may only be operated for the purposes for which it was designed.

Operators of motorized wheelchairs, also known as mobility assist devices, should remember the following rules and safety tips:

1. Ride only where it's safe and follow the same rules and guidelines as
a) You are not allowed to ride on the roadway if there is a clear sidewalk on either side of the roadway.
b) If there is no clear sidewalk, then you must travel on the extreme left side of the roadways or shoulder of the roadway facing oncoming traffic.
c) Obey all traffic control devices
d) Do not ride in the traveled portion of a roadway used by vehicles. The motorized wheelchair is not a vehicle and you could be fined for no insurance.
2. Operation of scooters in bicycle lanes is prohibited.
3. Use courtesy and think safety.
4. Drive at the same speed as other pedestrian traffic.
5. Be extra cautious of possible traffic as you approach driveways and laneways.
6. Try to avoid sudden turns.
7. Avoid using your motorized wheelchair if you're taking any medication, drugs or alcohol that may affect your skills or judgement.

If you still have questions about driving or riding a motorized vehicle, please check with your local Autoplan broker.

Constable R.A.(Richard) ASELTON
Central Okanagan Traffic Services - Media Liaison
Kelowna R.C.M.P. Detachment

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About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

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