Road Safety

Motorized mobility aids

Motorized mobility aids (power chairs and mobility scooters) are increasingly popular with our aging population and with others who have limited mobility.

Getting outdoors on your mobility aid is a great way to improve your physical fitness, health and general well-being, but you need to travel safely and be aware of important rules and safety guidelines when riding on or crossing roadways.

Understand the rules for operating mobility aids

  • The Highway Traffic Act defines a motorized mobility aid as a device which is specifically manufactured or modified for operation by a physical handicapped person and which has:
  • a maximum speed capability of not more than 15 km per hour
  • a maximum width of not more than 81.2 centimetres
  • a maximum mass of not more than 226 kilograms
  • Under The Highway Traffic Act, the same rules apply to mobility aid users as on-foot pedestrians:
  • Mobility aids are intended to be operated on sidewalks, not on roadways.
  • If no sidewalk is available or if the sidewalk is not passable, mobility aid users may travel on the left edge of the roadway or shoulder, facing traffic. This improves your visibility to oncoming motorists.
  • If required to ride on the roadway because a sidewalk is not available or passable, mobility aid users are required to return to the sidewalk at the earliest opportunity.
  • If you must use the roadway, you are required to use turn signals, or if your mobility aid is not equipped, use hand signals to inform motorists of your intentions.
  • If riding in a group, always travel in single file.
  • When crossing roadways or riding in parking lots, follow the same safety tips that apply to on-foot pedestrians.

As motorized mobility aids are intended to be operated on sidewalks, they do not require registration or insurance, and there is no coverage through Manitoba Public Insurance for injury or damage to a mobility aid from collision or upset, unless the injury or damage was caused by collision with a moving motor vehicle.

Get familiar with your mobility aid before you use it

  • Choose a mobility aid that best suits your needs and your physical capabilities to ensure you can operate it safely.
  • Carefully read and follow manufacturer instructions for safe operation and maintenance of your mobility aid.
  • Obtain operator training wherever available.

Consider using safety gear to enhance your visibility

  • red or orange retro-reflective flag that is well above head level
  • reflective strips and a red reflector
  • mirror
  • headlamp and tail lamp particularly if you intend to use your mobility aid at night
  • protective helmet

Watch your speed

  • Ride only at a speed that allows you to maintain full control of your mobility aid at all times.
  • Slow down when passing pedestrians or crossing roadways.
  • Be cautious to avoid collisions with pedestrians, particularly when approaching from behind.

Plan ahead

  • Choose a route with pavement in good and even condition and with curb cuts and ramps so you can easily get back onto the sidewalk after you cross roadways.
  • Check weather forecasts and sidewalk conditions where available.