Monthly Enforcement

May 2022 – STEP- Focus on Motorcycle Safety

The Selected Traffic Safety Program focus for the month of May is motorcycle safety. Every year as the weather improves, we see an increased number of mopeds and scooters on city roads, along with an increased presence of power bicycles. This year, MHPS is going to be focusing on these two areas during motorcycle safety month.

In Alberta, a power assisted bicycle is, by definition, a bicycle with not more than three wheels that:

  • Is equipped with an electric motor that has a total continuous power output rating of 500w or less,
  • if engaged using muscular power, power assist immediately ceases when the muscular power ceases,
  • if engaged by an accelerator controller, power assist immediately ceases when the brakes are applied, and
  • is incapable to providing power assist when the bicycle has attained a speed of 32km/h.

A power bicycle does not require registration or insurance and can be operated by anyone 12 year of age or older. They can be operated anywhere a bicycle is permitted and must follow bicycle laws relating to its operation and equipment requirements. Any person operating a power bicycle must be wearing an approved bicycle or motorcycle helmet, regardless of their age. If at any time a bicycle becomes equipped with a gas-powered engine, it is no longer considered a bicycle and becomes a motor vehicle. This means it must now follow motorcycle laws, including proper registration and insurance.

A moped is considered a vehicle that is propelled by an electric motor or an engine that has a displacement of not more than 50 cubic centimetres (cc), is limited to a maximum speed of 70km/h or less, had a minimum seat height of 650mm (unloaded), and does not have a partially or fully enclosed structure over the driver and/or passenger.

In Alberta, moped operators must be aware of the following laws:

  • To operate a moped, you must be at least 14 years of age and holding a valid class 7 learner’s licence.
  • An operator of a moped must wear an approved motorcycle helmet and follow all traffic laws established within the jurisdiction.
  • Moped’s require registration and insurance to operate on public roads.
  • Anyone under the age of 16 is prohibited from operating a moped with a passenger.
  • Anyone who is permitted to operate a moped with a passenger may only do so on a moped that is properly equipped to carry a passenger, which includes a factory equipped passenger seat and footrests.
  • Moped’s must be operated in the far-right hand driving lane, unless preparing to make a left turn or where it’s otherwise unsafe to operate in that lane (due to a road obstruction, etc.).
  • Mopeds are required to operate in single file, or staggered, as operating two or more abreast in the same lane is prohibited.

-              Even though a learner’s licence permits a person to operate a vehicle between the hours of 5am and midnight, a learner is prohibited from operating a moped at nighttime. Nighttime is defined as the period commencing one hour after sunset and ending one hour before the following sunrise.

It’s important that all moped operators know and obey the laws relating to these vehicles. The size of these bikes makes the operators vulnerable to injury in the event of a collision and users must do everything they can to protect themselves. This also means dressing appropriately for the ride with proper footwear and skid protection. Flip flops and loose clothing pose significant risks to moped drivers and every year result in injuries to users.

For more information contact:

A/Sgt, Darren Holeha
Traffic Unit
Medicine Hat Police Service
Ph: 403-529-8471