Modes of Transportation

On a Motorcycle: What the Law Says

To operate a motorcycle, you must hold a driver’s licence of the appropriate class corresponding to the motorcycle’s cylinder capacity and type. You are required to register your motorcycle and wear a helmet, and you must obey the Highway Safety Code.

Helmets are mandatory and must comply with standards

Under the Protective Helmets Regulation, every person riding on a motorcycle or three-wheel vehicle must wear a protective helmet that complies with one of the manufacturing standards in effect. A protective helmet must bear, at all times, the label affixed by the manufacturer in compliance with the requirements of the manufacturing standard.

Fines for failing to wear a helmet

The following penalties apply if you fail to wear a helmet or wear a helmet that does not comply with standards:

  • a $200 to $300 fine
  • 3 demerit points on your record

Point to remember

Businesses specialized in helmet sales or rentals must supply helmets that comply with current manufacturing standards.

Eye protection: mandatory

Motorcycle operators must wear visual protection when riding in a zone where the speed limit is over 50 km/h. If the helmet does not have a visor, the driver must wear protective goggles. 

Eyeglasses or sunglasses may be considered visual protection. However, a windshield, no matter its height, does not replace the required visual protection. 

Failure to wear visual protection is punishable by a fine of $80 to $100. 

Mandatory reflectors

Motorcycles must be equipped with:

  • amber side reflectors, placed on either side of the vehicle towards the front
  • red side reflectors, placed on either side of the vehicle towards the rear
  • a red reflector at the rear, on the vertical centreline

Owners of motorcycles that are non-compliant are liable to a $100 to $200 fine.

Exhaust sound levels

No component of the system can be modified, added or removed in a way that makes it noisier than the system originally installed. As such, a motorcycle muffler that has been modified but still complies with the maximum sound levels set out in the Regulation respecting the control of sound emissions produced by the exhaust system of motorcycles and mopeds is still considered non-compliant. 

Owners of motorcycles whose exhaust system is found to be non-compliant are liable to a $200 to $300 fine.

Drivers who refuse to have the sound level of their motorcycle’s exhaust system measured are liable to a $300 to $600 fine.

Prohibited manoeuvres

For safety reasons, certain manoeuvres are prohibited on a motorcycle, such as riding:

  • between two rows of vehicles moving on adjacent lanes (lane splitting)
  • between the road shoulder and another vehicle moving on the same lane
  • between a row of vehicles moving on one lane and a row of vehicles parked on that same lane

Offenders face a fine of $100 to $200.

Transporting a child

There is no minimum age to be a passenger on a motorcycle. However, to ride a motorcycle, passengers must be tall enough to have their feet on the footrests. Carrying a passenger who does not meet this requirement is punishable by a fine of $60 to $120. 

To ride in a sidecar, passengers must measure at least 145 cm or be at least 9 years old. Offenses are punishable by a fine of $200 to $300.

Passengers must wear a protective helmet that is properly adjusted and complies with current standards.

Transporting an animal

Transporting an animal by motorcycle is allowed as long as the animal is wearing a transportation harness designed for that purpose. The animal must never be placed in such as way as to obstruct the driver's view or interfere with the proper handling of the vehicle. Offenders face a fine of $100 to $200.

Last update: June 21, 2022