Is that thing insurable?

Maybe you’ve seen them. More likely you’ve heard them first. They are called Pocket Rockets and Go-peds – and they are the newest types of motorized transportation favoured by teenagers and young adults.

Pocket Rockets (mini street bikes) are meant for closed circuit use only and cannot be used on public roads. Although they are imported as “restricted-use motorcycles”, pocket rockets cannot be registered or licensed with the Ministry of Transportation and therefore cannot be insured under an auto policy. It is illegal to operate a go-ped (electric and motorized scooters) on public roads. Anyone caught operating one on Ontario’s roads could face charges for driving an unlicensed and uninsured motor vehicle. Due to a variety of safety concerns, many municipalities have also introduced by-laws prohibiting their use on public sidewalks or bike paths.

If you are thinking about buying a gas-powered pocket rocket or go-ped, you should be aware that insurance coverage is not available for these vehicles. Your property policy excludes liability arising out of the use or operation of a motorized vehicle. Your auto policy will not cover them because they do not meet equipment safety standards or regulations governing motor vehicle use.

Unfortunately, most purchasers are not told of the dangers, use restrictions, or insurance limitations before they buy. Only after an accident, do they find out about the risks. Before you buy a pocket rocket or go-ped, consider where you can legally use it, weigh the safety concerns, and recognize that if something goes wrong, you could be personally responsible for picking up the costs.

Recently in London Ontario, a boy lost control of his go-ped and veered onto the road causing an accident. Although he was unhurt, his parents are now facing a lawsuit from the driver for vehicle repairs and personal injury claims.

In an effort to expand the mobility options for Ontarians, the Ministry of Transportation recently updated its list of vehicles approved for use on public roads to include mopeds, limited speed motorcycles, electric bicycles and SeggwayTM Human Transporters.

For more information on these exciting vehicles, visit http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/vehicle/emerging.

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