Driving a low-speed vehicle

Illustration of a low-speed vehicle.What you need to know about driving a low-speed vehicle (LSV) in Ontario.

No longer permitted on Ontario roads

After eight years, and careful consideration, Ontario's Low Speed Vehicle Pilot ended on December 31, 2014.

The Low Speed Vehicle project began as a five-year pilot in September, 2006. It allowed electric Low Speed Vehicles only on roads with a (maximum posted speed limit of 40 km/h) in provincial and municipal parks and conservation areas by employees. The pilot program was extended for five-years in March, 2009 and expanded to allow Low Speed Vehicles on roads in controlled environments including Pelee Island or within 50 meters of property owned or occupied by university or college; and province-wide with speed limits of 50 km/h or less.

Since the pilot started in 2006, there has been limited interest and participation in the program. There is little evidence to support Low Speed Vehicles to operate on Ontario's roads.

Low Speed Vehicles are no longer allowed to operate on the roadway, however, they can continue to operate on private property/roads and on sidewalks/trails where permitted by municipal by-law.

However, the government still supports and promotes electric passenger cars which have emerged on the market recently and are fully compliant with all safety requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is a low-speed vehicle (LSV)?
  2. What is the purpose of the pilot?
  3. What was allowed under the Low Speed Vehicles pilot?
  4. When did the pilot expire?
  5. Why was the Low Speed Vehicles Pilot allowed to expire?
  6. Where can a Low Speed Vehicles operate now that the pilot has expired?
  7. What are the penalties for operating an LSV on-road, now that the pilot has expired?

1. What is a low-speed vehicle (LSV)?

The Motor Vehicle Safety Act (Canada) and its regulations define a "low-speed vehicle" as a vehicle, other than an all-terrain vehicle, or a vehicle imported temporarily for special purposes, that:

  • is designed for use primarily on streets and roads where access and the use of other classes of vehicles are controlled by law or agreement
  • is powered by an electric power train
  • does not produce emissions
  • is designed to travel on four wheels
  • does not use fuel as an on-board source of energy
  • has a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 1,361 kg
  • has an attainable speed in 1.6 km of more than 32 km/h but not more than 40 km/h, on a paved level surface
  • meets the Transport Canada Technical Document 500 standards for LSVs. (This means LSVs are required to have, at minimum, such equipment as headlamps, turn signals, parking brake, windshield, seat belt assembly, and exterior and interior mirrors).

2. What is the purpose of the pilot?

The government had publicly committed to supporting and promoting transportation options that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and are energy efficient, such as car-pool lanes and public transit.

At the time, the electric low speed vehicle pilot shows the government's commitment to promoting environmental sustainability and fuel conservation. Piloting these electric, low-speed vehicles helps us gather information and the safety impacts of allowing the operation of LSVs in low-speed settings.


3. What was allowed under the Low Speed Vehicles pilot?

On September 19, 2006, the Province of Ontario began a five-year pilot project that allowed park employees who have a valid Class A, B, C, D, E, F, G or G2 driver's licence to operate low-speed vehicles (LSVs) on roads with a posted speed limit of 40 km/hr or less in provincial parks, municipal parks and conservation areas.

The program was then extended for five-years on March 2, 2009 and expanded to allow LSV's on roads in controlled environments defined as Pelee Island or within 50 metres of property owned or occupied by university or college; and province-wide with speed limits of 50 km/h or less.


4. When did the pilot expire?

After eight years, and careful consideration, the province's Low Speed Vehicle Pilot expired on December 31, 2014.


5. Why was the Low Speed Vehicles Pilot allowed to expire?

Since the pilot started in 2006, there has been limited interest and no participation in the program. There is little evidence to support continuing to allow Low Speed Vehicles to operate on Ontario's roads.

However, the government still supports and promotes electric passenger cars which have emerged on the market recently and are fully compliant with all safety requirements.

For more information on Electric Vehicles


6. Where can a Low Speed Vehicles operate now that the pilot has expired?

Low Speed Vehicle users may continue to operate their LSVs on private property or on sidewalks and paths where authorized by municipalities. Any interested users should first contact their local city councillor or municipal public works department to determine what the by-laws are regarding motorized vehicles on sidewalks in their community.


7. What are the penalties for operating an LSV on-road, now that the pilot has expired?

Low Speed Vehicles are no longer allowed to operate on the roadway, however, they can continue to operate on private property/roads and on sidewalks/trails where permitted by municipal by-law.

As of January 1, 2015, any Low Speed Vehicle that is being driven on the road could result in the operator being ticketed for a variety of offences such as operating a motor vehicle without a licence, vehicle registration or insurance.

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