Globe and Mail: Do motorcycles belong in Ontario’s HOV lanes?


The Globe and Mail continues its look at the viability of motorcycles as commuter vehicles with a piece asking if two-wheelers belong in Ontario’s HOV lanes.

Ontario’s HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes are intended to reduce gridlock. For now, buses, licensed taxis, airport limos, emergency vehicles and vehicles with Ontario green licence plates have unrestricted access to HOV lanes.

Vans, light trucks, cars and commercial trucks less than 6.5 meters long with a gross weight of 4,500 kg or less can use HOV lanes, as long as they have two or more passengers. Motorcycles can also use HOV lanes, under the same condition. And there’s the problem: although motorcycles reduce gridlock, most North American riders aren’t carrying pillions, unlike other countries where motorcycles are a more integral part of daily transportation.

So, the Globe is asking if that might change? According to a spokesman from Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation, there is a review of the HOV motorcycle policy underway. For now, Ontario doesn’t want to include single-passenger motorcycles in HOV lanes, as it does not remove any vehicles from highways, but that may change in the future. Read more about the issue at the Globe’s website here.



  1. They already allow single-passenger vehicles in HOV lanes – those with “Green” plates. How does that reduce congestion? Oh, right, it’s not about congestion, it’s about encouraging the “right” behaviours, like car pooling or driving a hybrid/electric car, without any consideration of whether it’s really achieving the stated goal. Wait, what exactly is the goal of the HOV lanes? It can’t possibly be to reduce congestion, because it hasn’t worked. In fact, I can make a good case that traffic getting over to the HOV lanes and back from them has actually increased congestion in a number of areas. For example, the 403-QEW split on the westbound QEW in Burlington. Traffic’s been consistently worse since they brought in the HOV lanes. It was already bad enough with idiots waiting until the last moment to get in the lane they need to be in (to get the 403, particularly), now we have HOV lanes that deliberately carry them to, and then dump them out, just before the split.

  2. As best I can tell, Ontario is the ONLY jurisdiction in the ENTIRE WORLD that does not allow single rider motorcycles in the HOV lanes. I’ve asked three different ministers of transport about this – not recently – and every time, I’ve been told that the policy was established to encourage ride sharing, not to actually reduce congestion. But it is ridiculous. A few years ago I started thinking about organizing a protest ride to Queens Park, heading down the 404 in the HOV lanes illegally and then down Don Mills Road in the HOV lanes legally (adminstered by the city of Toronto). I tried to get a celebrity to lead the way, but couldn’t find one willing to do it and then just got busy with other stuff. Who thinks we should do this, maybe in June or at least before QP breaks for the summer?

    • The time might be right, considering Wynn is slightly more popular than Hitler right now. She’ll do anything go get votes – tell here there are 300,000 motorcyclists in Ontario who vote and you might have a shot. She’s grasping at straws.

    • And that’s just a perfect example of what’s wrong with the morons in charge of this province. Getting people to share rides is more important than reducing congestion? What kind of mileage do cars sitting in bumper to bumper traffic get? You can’t ride a motorcycle by yourself in the HOV lanes, but it’s fine to drive in it if you’ve only got yourself and a baby in a car seat in your 4,500 lb V8 SUV or pickup truck getting 20 mph. But hey, as long as we’re doing things we can feel good about…

      • And don’t forget that during the PanAm games fiasco, the morons at Queens Park decreed that “regular” vehicles had to have THREE people to use the HOV lanes, effectively discriminating against Corvettes, Miatas etc, even if they were at the full capacity of two. Even a motorcycle carrying a passenger was banned.


        • Asshats…rarely has one word fit so well!

          As someone who’s contacted our elected representatives urging them to use the examples from the rest of the world on the commuting advantages of motorcycles, I’ve learned that it’s easier to try to reason with my cat. He’s not that bright but he tilts his head when I say his name.

  3. Warning! I am about to commit poetry!

    Fiberal criminals cheat and steal,
    Payoff their friends and lie, lie, and lie,
    We pay the price and we remember,
    Let their electoral prospects die, die, die!

    Thank you, thank you. I’m here all week. Try the veal!

Join the conversation!