Canadian Underwriter

Go-kart on private track is not an “automobile,” Ontario’s top court rules

January 31, 2008   by

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A go-kart operated on a private track is not an “automobile” according to the standard Ontario automobile insurance contract, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled in Adams v. Pineland Amusements Ltd.

Denis Potvin was driving a go-kart on a track owned and operated by Pineland Amusements Ltd. when he allegedly lost control of his go-kart after colliding with another go-kart driven by his father, Roland Potvin.

Representatives of Denis filed an action against Pineland and Roland for damages related to injuries suffered by Denis. Pineland filed a cross claim alleging that Roland caused or contributed to the injuries of his son.

Roland had an automobile insurance policy with Kingsway General Insurance Company and issued a third-party claim against Kingsway, stating it had a duty to defend and indemnify him in the main action and cross-claim.

But even though a go-kart is technically considered a vehicle, it cannot meet the legal requirements of the Highway Traffic Act relating to registration, licensing and the equipment of motor vehicles, Ontario Court of Appeal Justice Russell Juriansz wrote for the court.

Since a go-kart cannot meet these regulatory requirements, then under the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act, a go-kart cannot be, and is not required to be, insured by a motor vehicle policy, he continued.

Juriansz ruled that Roland’s automobile insurance policy does not cover the main claim made by Denis’ representatives in that it “does not cover damages for injuries resulting from a go-kart accident in the circumstances of the case.” Kingsway, Juriansz added, “does not have the duty to defend Roland Potvin in the main action or in the cross claim by Pineland Amusements Ltd.” •

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