Personal Mobility Devices (Motorized Wheelchairs and Medical Scooters)
do not require registration, license plates, driver's license or vehicle insurance.
Persons operating motorized wheelchairs are treated in the same way as pedestrians.
Wheelchairs can be driven by muscular power or other types of power,
and are designed for and used by people whose mobility is limited by
one or more conditions or functional impairments. In general,
municipalities establish by-laws for where wheelchairs can or cannot be
used. Operators should check with their local municipality to ensure
by-laws permit their use on sidewalks.
A sidewalk should be the first choice for someone using a wheelchair
or medical scooter. When there is no wheelchair accessible curb, the
person should return to the sidewalk at the first available opportunity.
If there is no sidewalk available, people using wheelchairs or
personal mobility devices should travel, like pedestrians, along the
left shoulder of the roadway facing oncoming traffic.
In 2011, an elderly gentleman in a mobility scooter was accidentally
struck by a car in Lindsay and later died from his injuries. With the
increased amount “Scooters” on our roadways, we felt it important to
review what could be done to help prevent this from happening again.
We consulted with the Kawartha Lakes Accessibility Advisory Committee
(KLAAC), Safe Communities Kawartha Lakes (SCKL) and the Ontario
Provincial Police (OPP) Kawartha Lakes Detachment about what could be
done. Amending an existing bylaw to regulate the safe use of Personal
Mobility Devices was considered, however all agencies felt that the
existing law as found in the Highway Traffic Act is sufficient.
That law can be found in the Highway Traffic Act in section 179. (1)
Titled “Duties of pedestrian when walking along highway”. It states
“Where sidewalks are not provided on a highway, a pedestrian walking
along the highway shall walk on the left side thereof facing oncoming
traffic and, when walking along the roadway, shall walk as close to the
left edge thereof as possible.” Note: the Act’s definition of a
pedestrian includes a person in a wheelchair or scooter .
Prior to commencing enforcement of the law, we discussed at length
about how to effectively communicate what the law actually is and in
conjunction with the agencies consulted launched a public awareness
campaign in August.