Mobility Scooter Accidents in Ontario

Edited by Admin
Mobility Scooter Accidents in Ontario


Mobility Scooter Accidents


Mobility scooters have gained in popularity in recent years; these motorized devices can transform life for those suffering with chronic illness, pain, or fatigue. A mobility scooter, also known as a medical scooter or a powered mobility device (PMD), can be a real boon for someone who has some limited mobility, or may experience difficulty walking short distances. Mobility scooters can provide people with more independence, allowing them to run errands, go to appointments, and visit friends. They help those who might otherwise be confined to home to live fuller, richer lives.

Mobility scooters are designed to travel no faster than 15 kilometres per hour, and most can only go about 25 kilometres before needing to be recharged. In recent years, however, a wider variety of scooter models has become available, from smaller folding models to heavy-duty scooters that can travel up to 50 kilometres. As these devices become more prevalent, communities have adapted. In most cities, public transit has accommodations for scooters, and airlines will now allow you to check your mobility scooter as oversized luggage. The more portable models can be folded and fitted into the trunk of a car or taxicab. As the Baby Boom generation ages, we can expect to see increasing numbers of mobility scooters on our streets.


Hidden Dangers


However, because the proliferation of mobility scooters is relatively recent, there is some confusion regarding their use and how to share the sidewalk or road with them. In Canada, mobility scooters are not considered to be motor vehicles. Consequently, they are not required to be licensed, insured, or registered, and drivers do not need a license to operate them. Technically, people on mobility scooters are considered to be pedestrians, and bound by the same rules that apply to people who are walking. This includes:

Crossing only at marked crosswalks or at traffic lights.
  • Crossing only at marked crosswalks or at traffic lights.
  • Making sure drivers see you before you cross the street.
  • Wearing bright or light-coloured clothing or reflective strips, especially in the evening or at night. Some scooter operators attach tall flags to the rear of their devices so that they will be more visible in drivers’ rear view mirrors.
  • Do not start to cross the street after the “Don’t Walk” sign appears or the light turns yellow.
  • Beware of traffic turning at intersections or entering or exiting from driveways.
  • If there is no sidewalk available, you should travel along the left shoulder of the roadway facing oncoming traffic and look for a way to get onto a sidewalk safely as soon as you can.


In cities where foot traffic is heavy, people with mobility scooters can have trouble navigating the sidewalks. In Toronto, people with mobility scooters often travel in the bike lanes, even though this is currently prohibited. Many of the city’s bicycle lane activists, aware of the potential conflict with pedestrians on the sidewalk, are actually in favour of sharing the bike lanes with mobility scooters.


Accidents and PMDs


Not much research has been done on the use of personal mobility devices, although the Canadian Survey on Disability, mobility impairment affects 7.2% of the Canadian population and is the third highest cause of disability. Eight out of every ten individuals with a disability use an assistive device, such as a walker, wheelchair, or scooter. A Swedish research project that covered the years 2007 through 2016 is one of the only studies to date that attempts to collect data about accidents involving PMDs. While there are several anecdotal stories of scooters striking and injuring pedestrians, the Swedish study found that most accidents involved falls that happened when a PMD overturned, or an operator fell off the device. The biggest cause for both of these was a difference in ground level, such as uneven sidewalk, or the device striking a curb. Collisions were the next most common type of accident, with 70% of these happening at intersections.


In Canada, there have been several instances of accidents involving mobility scooters; in 2018, a man on a mobility scooter collided with a pickup truck at College and Ossington, and in 2019, Toronto streetcar struck a 70-year-old man on a mobility scooter on Queen Street West. The same year, a person riding a scooter was seriously injured when he collided with a pickup truck in Surrey, BC. In May of 2020, a Mississauga man on a PMD was involved in a crash at Hurontario Street and Sherwoodtowne Boulevard, and in May of 2021, an elderly man on a scooter was struck by a truck while crossing the Trans-Canada Highway in Ladysmith, BC.


If you have been involved in a collision while operating your mobility scooter, contact a personal injury lawyer today. These lawyers can help you to assess your situation and provide you with advice about how to proceed. In Ontario, the initial meeting with a personal injury lawyer is usually free, so you don’t need to worry about straining the household finances. Call a personal injury law firm today and explore your options!