Modes of Transportation

Using Electric Wheelchairs or 3- or 4-Wheeled Electric Scooters

Motorized mobility aids (MMAs) are devices designed to make up for an inability to walk. They include electric wheelchairs and 3- and 4-wheeled electric scooters.

The ministerial order regarding the suspension, under certain conditions, of a number of provisions of the Highway Safety Code in order to allow people to use MMAs on public roadways and their cohabitation with other road users came into effect after it was published in the Gazette officielle du Québec on August 9, 2020.

Not all 3- and 4-wheeled electric scooters available on the market meet the definition of a motorized mobility aid (MMA). Individuals must ensure that the model that they own or wish to purchase corresponds to the definition of an MMA in order to benefit from the provisions set out in the ministerial order. They must also learn about the rules that apply to operating an MMA, as some rules vary depend on the type of MMA used.

What Is a Motorized Mobility Aid?

A motorized mobility aid (MMA) is defined as:

  • a wheelchair equipped with an electric motor and controlled with a joystick controller mounted on one of the armrests and used by individuals who can no longer use their legs
  • any other device designed to make up for an inability to walk and which meets the following specifications:
    • is designed for only 1 person
    • is equipped with a seat with a backrest, which cannot be straddled, as well as footrests and armrests
    • is not equipped with pedals
    • is propelled by an electric motor
    • moves on 3 or 4 wheels
    • has a maximum width of 75 cm, including equipment, except if its use is prescribed to the user by a health professional

Vehicles with the following characteristics are not considered MMAs:

  • vehicles equipped with a closed cabin or sides closed using a rigid or soft, transparent or opaque material
  • vehicles that have undergone modifications to correspond to the description of an MMA (e.g. golf cart)
  • hand-crafted vehicles

Traffic Rules

Traffic rules applicable to MMAs apply on public roadways, on private roads open to public vehicular traffic and land occupied by shopping centres or other land where public traffic is allowed.

With certain exceptions, MMA users must comply with the rules that apply to:

  • pedestrians, when they are travelling on a sidewalk or through an intersection when they were travelling on the sidewalk just before crossing the intersection
  • cyclists, when they are travelling on a bikeway, on the roadway or on the shoulder

However, some rules have been adapted to account for different types of MMAs and regulate their use to ensure the safety of both MMA users and all other road users.

To learn about all the rules that apply depending on the type of infrastructure used, see the Ministère des Transports website.

Where Is the Use of MMAs Allowed?

  • On sidewalks, under certain conditions
  • On bikeways, under certain conditions
  • On roadways and road shoulders, under certain conditions

MMA users must always favour using a bikeway to travel if this type of infrastructure exists and is accessible and usable.

MMA users travelling on the roadway or the shoulder must ride with the flow of traffic.

See the website of the Ministère des Transports to learn more about the applicable rules of the road (in French only).

Where Is the Use of MMAs Prohibited?

  • On limited access roads, such as highways and their access and exit ramps
  • On the roadway of roads where the speed limit is over 50 km/h, except for some exceptions
  • Between two rows of vehicles moving on contiguous lanes
  • Between a vehicle travelling in the same lane and a vehicle parked to the right or left of that lane

See the website of the Ministère des Transports to learn more about the applicable rules of the road (in French only).

Mandatory Equipment for MMAs

  • Brakes
  • Reflectors
    • white, in front
    • red, at the rear
    • white, amber or red, or reflective strips, placed as high as possible on either side of the vehicle
  • Triangular orange pennant when travelling on the shoulder of roads with a posted speed limit above 50 km/h
  • For 3- and 4-wheeled scooters used at night or on a roadway where the posted speed limit is above 50 km/h, a white headlight and a red taillight

See the website of the Ministère des Transports to know more about all mandatory, authorized and recommended accessories (page in French only).

In the Event of an Accident

Injuries sustained in an accident involving a motorized wheelchair, a 3- or 4-wheeled scooter or any other motor-equipped mobility aid are not covered by the public automobile insurance plan, unless the accident involves a moving vehicle that is covered by the plan.

Behaviours and Penalties

MMA users who fail to obey the rules are liable to a fine in accordance with the Highway Safety Code.

Driver Distraction

An individual operating an MMA is prohibited from:

  • wearing headphones or earphones
  • using a cell phone or any other portable electronic device designed to send or receive information or to be used for entertainment purposes, and from using a display screen

Exception

  • These rules do not apply to individuals using an electric wheelchair.
  • Wearing an earphone in only one ear is allowed when it provides guidance assistance or is necessary to ensure the user’s safety.
  • Using a telephone or device is allowed when it is properly secured to the MMA and displays only information necessary to allow the individual to get around.
  • Using a telephone or device is allowed when the individual has stopped on the side of the roadway, on the shoulder, on the bikeway or on the sidewalk in such as way that does not obstruct traffic.

Impaired Driving

Operating an MMA while impaired by drugs, medication or alcohol is prohibited. The Criminal Code also applies to driving these types of devices.

Should you commit an offence while driving an MMA, the same penalties apply as for an offence involving any other type of road vehicle.

Last update: March 17, 2021