As of July 1, motorcycles are now allowed in Ontario’s high-occupancy vehicle lanes with only a single rider.
For years, motorcycles have been banned from Ontario’s provincially-administered HOV lanes, unless they have multiple people on board (rider+pillion=good, single rider=bad). Municipalities were allowed different rules (Toronto permitted single-rider motorcycles in its HOV lanes), but the province itself was the only jurisdiction in North America that wouldn’t allow motorcycles in its HOV lanes.
David Grummet of the MMIC says that was a key turning point, when his organization and other parties brought up the proposed HOV changes with last year’s new PC provincial government.
“All we had to do was point we’re the only guys who ban motorcycles from traveling in HOV lanes, and once they figured out they were the oddballs out, they wanted to change that real quick,” he said. Previous provincial governments were unwilling to change HOV rules, where Ontario had banned bikes from the beginning. This April, Doug Ford’s Tories turned that around.
Although we’ve heard of motorcyclists being pulled over for riding in the HOV lane since yesterday’s rule change, Grummet says the Ontario Provincial Police have indicated they’re fully aware of the new rule changes, which should mean no real difficulties for riders. Some areas might not have signage indicating the new rules, but we’ve already heard of the old “No motorcycles” signs being replaced on some provincial HOV routes, particularly the 403.