The Ontario Highway Traffic Act (HTA) defines a motorcycle as a self-propelled vehicle with a seat or saddle for the driver, designed to travel with not more than three wheels in contact with the ground.
Three-wheeled motorcycles are commonly referred to as motor tricycles. A three-wheeled motorcycle may have either two front wheels or two rear wheels, or may be a two-wheeled motorcycle with a sidecar.
Motor tricycles manufactured to comply with the HTA’s motorcycle definition can be registered to drive on Ontario’s public roads only if they:
- Have seating on which all occupants must sit astride
- Do not have more than four designated seating positions
- Do not have a gross vehicle weight rating of greater than 1,000 kilograms
- Do not have a structure partially or fully enclosing the driver and passenger, other than that part of the vehicle forward of the driver’s torso and the seat backrest
Vehicles commonly referred to as motor scooters are considered motorcycles. Depending on the characteristics of the vehicle, a motor scooter may be considered a limited-speed motorcycle.
Motorcycles must be registered with the Ministry of Transportation and have a valid motorcycle licence plate attached in order to be driven on public roads in Ontario.
Limited-Speed Motorcycles (LSMs)
A limited-speed motorcycle is a motorcycle to which the manufacturer has affixed a compliance label, as required by the Motor Vehicle Safety Act (Canada), which indicates the vehicle type as “LSM/MVL.”
Typically, LSMs are gas powered, cannot go faster than 70 km/h, have a “step-through design” and automatic transmission.
If the vehicle was manufactured before September 1, 1988, and does not have a label, it is a limited-speed motorcycle if it has all of the following characteristics:
- Minimum attainable speed of 32 km/h on level ground within 1.6 kilometres from a standing start
- Maximum speed of 70 km/h or less
- Steering handlebars that are completely restrained from rotating in relation to the axle of only one wheel in contact with the ground
- Minimum seat height, when not laden, of 650 millimetres
- Minimum wheel-rim diameter of 250 millimetres
- Minimum wheelbase of 1,016 millimetres
- Engine displacement of 50 cubic centimetres or less
Limited-speed motorcycles must be registered with the Ministry of Transportation and have a valid limited-speed motorcycle licence plate or a regular motorcycle licence plate (if plated before November 28, 2005) attached in order to be driven on public roads.