Para-Vehicles Part I – Rise of the Motorized Scooter

bearded man holding the electric scooter and riding it while feeling delighted

The Rise of the Motorized Scooter

Recently, I saw something I had never seen before.

A group of six people, all driving motorized scooters. I have to admit, they were undeniably cool, and I was extremely jealous.

Being the inquisitive legal beagle that I am, I immediately wondered, “are these things street legal?”

I immediately went home, and I started researching the issue. I’m a huge nerd, and I had to get to the bottom of this.

It’s not as simple and straightforward as you might think.

To be street legal, one may assume that the scooters are classified as vehicles or motor vehicles under the Nova Scotia Motor Vehicle Act, RSNS 1989, c 293 (“the act”) and as a result, insurable.

I figured, if motorized scooters were legal, a good place to start would be the Motor Vehicle Act.

Section 2 of the Nova Scotia defines “vehicle” and “motor vehicle” as follows:

Vehicle means every device in, upon or by which, any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a public highway. Excepting a motorized wheelchair and devices moved by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.

Motor vehicle means a vehicle that is propelled or driven otherwise then by muscular power not including a personal transporter.

At first glance, motor vehicle seems like a fairly broad definition that would include motorized scooters. However, it specifically excludes personal transporters as contemplated by the act. A personal transporter is a self-balancing electric vehicle with two side-by-side wheels. Furthermore, it is designed for the personal transportation of a single person and, for greater certainty, includes a Segway.

The definition of personal transporter limits itself to electric vehicles with two “side-by-side” wheels. Motorized scooters do not have two side-by-side wheels, and therefore, would not fall under the definition of personal transporter. It also seems that the clarification at the end of the definition is designed to single out segways – not scooters. If I was arguing this in front of a court, I think I could argue with a straight face that a motorized transporter is not a personal transporter pursuant to the above definition from the act.

Based on the above, it seems that motorized scooters are motor vehicles under the act, and Segways are specifically excluded.

This does not end the analysis of whether or not para-vehicles are street legal. However, it is the first step to a definitive legal analysis that you can rock a motorized scooter on the road with impunity. My next post will deal with the insurability of para vehicles.

As always, for a definitive analysis on the legality of para-vehicles, contact one of our experienced personal injury or insurance lawyers for advice.


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