Victoria Police continue to investigate a collision between a man in a wheel chair and a car last weekend. (Black Press file photo)

Recent collision raises questions about rules of road for personal mobility devices

Victoria Police continue to investigate collision between wheelchair and vehicle

A recent collision in the City of Victoria between a vehicle and a man in a wheelchair near the municipal border with Saanich has raised questions about licensing requirements for personal mobility devices.

The Saturday evening incident left a man with unspecified injuries after his hand-pushed wheelchair collided with a vehicle on East Gorge Road near the Robin Hood Motel.

RELATED: Check out the ‘Caboost,’ an out-of-the-bike electric motor

Const. Matt Rutherford of the Victoria Police Department said the man was travelling with his wheelchair in the street when the incident occurred. The driver — contrary to social media postings — remained on scene. Rutherford said the investigation into the incident continues.

Traditional wheelchairs do not require a license under the existing regulations of ICBC, which considers their users’ pedestrians.

Looking at other types of devices that assist personal mobility, the rules of the road vary.

ICBC, for example, treats users of motorized wheelchairs similar to pedestrians. As such, their users may operate them where rules permit pedestrians to walk, such as sidewalks, walkways, crosswalks and paths. This status means that users of motorized wheelchairs do not require registrations, vehicle licences, insurances or driver’s licences.

RELATED: Electric bike shop plugs into Uptown location

This said, ICBC’s safety tips for operating motorized wheelchairs read very much like those for traditional vehicles, including the appeal to avoid using motorized wheelchairs, while using medication, drugs or alcohol that may affect skills or judgment.

Motorized wheelchairs fall into the category of low-powered vehicles. What ICBC calls “limited-speed motorcycle” can operate on roads provided they are registered, licensed and insured with operators holding any class of driver’s licence. Riders are required by law to wear a motorcycle helmet.

Electric motor-assisted cycles can also operate on roads, but do not require registration, vehicle licence or insurance. Operators do not require a driver’s licence, but must be 16 years of age or older and wear bicycle helmets. Operators must not only follow bicycle safety rules, but are also subject to the same rights and duties as the drivers of motor vehicles.

While the exact number of such bikes on local roads remains a guess at best, they have proliferated, creating a potential conflict with more traditional cyclists.

RELATED: Power up your ride: E-bikes are changing the way people ride

When asked whether electrical bikes have been using Victoria’s designated bicycles lanes, Rutherford said any evidence would be “anecdotal.”

Scooters, motorized skateboards or self-balancing boards, meanwhile, may only be operated where B.C.’s Motor Vehicle Act doesn’t apply, such as private property that does not have public vehicle access or on a trail or pathway, provided municipal bylaw has sanctioned their use.

Pocket bikes or mini choppers, are also not permitted on public roads, and are not permitted under Motor Vehicle Act Regulations because of their wheel size, wheelbase and seat height.

Looking at injury statistics, ICBC does not track specific statistics for these types of low-powered vehicles. But it includes mopeds, limited speed motorcycles, scooters and trikes in the category of motorcycle/moped. Over the last five years between 2012 and 2016, this category recorded an average of 480 incidents on Vancouver Island, 300 injuries, and six fatalities.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Tenants above Wellburns uncertain after ‘nightmare’ sewage flood ousts them indefinitely

Tenants evacuated after sewage flooded basement of century-old building

Victoria cycling community raises concern over new bike lane designs

High traffic along a corridor needs to be considered, Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition says

Hundreds of students gather at Government House to decorate Christmas Trees

The annual tradition let Grade 2 and 3 students help celebrate for the holidays

Trauma sufferers support group takes shape on West Shore

Aaron’s Society open to more peer support groups with certified trauma practitioners

Mental health call temporarily shuts down Trans Canada Highway in View Royal

West Shore RCMP cite 14 percent increase in calls concerning mental health in 2019

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Camosun College for checkup

Royal BC Museum, Camosun College and Carriageworks Restorations come together to care for car

POLL: Will you be donating to charities over the holiday season?

Many here in Victoria joined others around the world to take part… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 3

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

BC firefighters to help battle Australian bushfires

Canada sent 22 people, including 7 from B.C.

B.C. NDP touts the end of MSP premiums

Horgan, James held news conference to reiterate that people will get their last bill this month

Oscar Hickes: Longest running hockey tournament on Vancouver Island cancelled

Patrick Murray, one of the organizers for the tournament, broke the sad news on social media.

Most Read