Low Speed Vehicles

On July 1, 2017, Ontario launched a new pilot to permit low speed vehicles (LSVs) on Ontario's roads.

The Ontario Government is committed to supporting new and emerging technologies that can help move people safely and efficiently while limiting environmental impacts. We are interested in promoting transportation modes that are environmentally friendly, help to reduce air pollution and reduce reliance on conventional fuel.

The ministry aims to strike the appropriate balance between maintaining road safety while also ensuring that the province's regulatory environment does not create unnecessary barriers to innovation, consumer choice and individual mobility.

The pilot is intended to evaluate the use of LSVs over a 10-year period to examine their ability to safely integrate with other vehicle types and determine whether existing rules of the road are adequate.

After the pilot is done

The Ministry of Transportation expects that this pilot framework will provide the ministry with meaningful evidence to determine whether a permanent framework is warranted. Following a safety evaluation of these vehicles, the ministry will make a long term decision on whether low speed vehicles are permanently allowed on road in Ontario.

Key elements of the pilot

For the full list of pilot requirements, please see Ontario Regulation 215/17:

  • Low speed vehicles drive at a maximum speed of between 32 km/h and 40 km/h and may not be modified to drive faster than 40 km/h
  • Low speed vehicles are only allowed on roads with a speed limit of up to 50 km/h if permitted by municipal by-law, and are allowed to be driven through an intersection where the speed limit of the cross street is not greater than 60km/h
  • Only LSVs that meet the federal motor vehicle standards for the low-speed vehicle class and have the compliance label affixed are eligible to participate in the pilot
  • The pilot will run for 10 years
  • Slow moving vehicle sign must be attached to the rear of the vehicle
  • LSV owners and operators must have a policy of automobile insurance that meets the requirements of the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act and that provides coverage for liability in the minimum amount of $5M and medical, rehabilitation and attendant care benefits in the minimum amount of $1M for non-catastrophic injuries and $2M for catastrophic injuries
  • Current Highway Traffic Act (HTA) rules apply to the driver/vehicle owner
  • Drivers are required to have a full G class driver's licence or higher
  • Low speed vehicles are subject to Ontario's mandatory seat belt requirements
  • The vehicle must not be driven while carrying a child passenger younger than eight years old
  • Low speed vehicles are prohibited from being used for an Ontario driver's licence road test
  • No sidecars or trailers are permitted for use on a low speed vehicle

Safety features

Low speed vehicles have fewer safety features than passenger cars. While the physical design of LSVs may resemble many safety features of passenger cars (e.g. seat belts, steering wheel, pedals), LSVs will not be able to meet all requirements of a passenger car (for example, crash standards).

The standards for low speed vehicles are set out by the federal government in its Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations Schedule III.

To offer a minimum level of safety, an LSV must meet four Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (CMVSS) as set out in the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations Schedule III , which are listed below:

  • CMVSS 500 - Defines overall requirements for Low Speed Vehicle class, which include: headlights, turn signal lamps, mirrors, parking brake (but no specifications) and a maximum speed capability. Within CMVSS 500, the following standards must also be met
    • CMVSS 115 - Bear a Vehicle Identification Number, which provides a way to track ownership and identify recalls
    • CMVSS 205 - Meets glazing requirements for a windshield, and
    • CMVSS 209 - Have seat belt assemblies present, with no requirement for seat belt anchorages

As well, LSVs must have the following features:

  • Odometer
  • Speedometer
  • Windshield defrosting & defogging system and
  • Occupant compartment doors

Driver and Insurance requirements

For consumer protection purposes, LSV owners are required to provide a signed declaration form prior to vehicle registration that states acknowledgement of the LSV pilot, its operating requirements, and the LSV's lack of safety features as compared to a passenger car.

How to register a low speed vehicle for use on Ontario's roads

LSVs can only be registered at two ServiceOntario locations in Toronto:

  • Downtown Toronto - 33 Victoria Street, Suite 150
  • Trinity Bellwoods - 846 Dundas Street West

ServiceOntario and MTO will monitor registrations and requests for registration in other geographical areas within the province, as the pilot progresses. If the demand increases in other areas, MTO and ServiceOntario will consider authorizing other ServiceOntario locations to perform LSV registrations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a low-speed vehicle the same as a Neighbourhood Electric Vehicle? What about a golf cart?

A neighbourhood electric vehicle is considered a low-speed vehicle as long as, at the time of manufacture, it met all of the requirements of a low-speed vehicle.

Although golf carts may resemble low-speed vehicles, they typically do not meet the requirements for low-speed vehicles as specified in the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations Schedule III.

Only LSVs manufactured by a company registered with Transport Canada and that have a compliance label are eligible for the pilot.

Are low speed vehicles subject to Drive Clean emissions testing requirements?

No. Because these vehicles are electric, they will be exempt from emission testing.

Can an individual sell/buy a used LSV?

Yes. As with registering a used passenger car, a Safety Standards Certificate (SSC) and a Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP) will be required. Individuals will also be required to provide a signed declaration form as acknowledgement of the LSV pilot and the vehicle's safety limitations.

A SSC can only be obtained from a registered Motor Vehicle Inspection Station (MVIS) if the LSV passes all necessary safety inspections. MVIS technicians certified to inspect passenger vehicles (i.e., trade code 310-S) can inspect LSVs.

Sellers must provide buyers with the declaration form. Blank Declaration Forms will be available at ServiceOntario centres and they can also be downloaded from the government's OPS Forms Repository.

A LSV cannot pass a safety inspection, unless the LSV has a warning label in the vehicle and a federal compliance label.

Do other Canadian jurisdictions allow low speed vehicles on road?

Yes, currently British Columbia allows LSVs to operate on public roads as long as they are licensed, insured and comply with the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations for LSVs. LSVs are referred to as a neighborhood zero emission vehicles (NZEVs) in British Columbia.

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