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Changes to Ontario’s
Off-Road Vehicles Legislation/Regulations

Off-road vehicles (ORVs) now have more access to the shoulder and paved portions of some Ontario highways. These new regulations, effective July 31, 2003, apply to one category of ORV only. This particular “all-terrain vehicle” (ATV) is defined as an off-road vehicle that:

§ has four wheels, the tires of which are all in contact with the ground;

§ has steering handlebars;

§ has a seat that is designed to be straddled by the driver;

§ meets requirements of federal Motor Vehicle Safety Act (MVSA) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI standard); and

§ is designed to carry a driver only and no passengers.

New regulations do not apply to other types of off-road vehicles such as mini bikes, dirt bikes and moto-cross bikes, nor to all other categories of ATVs, including three-wheelers, dune buggies and snowmobiles.

Where ORVs Can Travel

· Prohibited from 400 series highways, Trans Canada Highway

· Access to highways 500 to 899, 7000 series and Summer Average Daily Traffic (SADT) less than 5,000. Specific highways are defined in the regulation schedules

· ORVs can operate on shoulder; move to travelled portion of highway if shoulder is impassable/unsafe

· Speed limit lower than posted limits (same as snowmobiles)

o 20 km/h - highways where speed limit is 50 km/h or less

o 50 km/h – highway where speed limit is over 50 km/h

· Not allowed on rights-of way (e.g.: medians) between opposing lanes of traffic

· Riders must operate their ORV in the same direction of traffic

· Cannot operate in a construction zone, on a closed highway or within a provincial park unless allowed by the park

· Municipalities may pass by-laws to decide if, where and when off-road vehicles can be used on local roads.

Driver’s Licence and Registration Requirements

Riders must wear a motorcycle helmet, have a valid G2/M2 or greater driver’s licence, registration and insurance
ATVs must be registered and have a valid permit except in exempt areas (e.g. far Northern Ontario)
Exemptions are provided for farmers, trappers and public utility workers to ensure previous allowances for highway access, type of off-road vehicle, type of driver’s licence and number of passengers are not impacted by new regulation

Rules of the Road

ORV operators must observe a speed limit lower than posted limits, same as for snowmobiles
· Passengers are not allowed

May tow trailers
Driver’s view in all directions must not be obstructed
It is against the law to drive an off-road vehicle when impaired by alcohol or drugs.

Vehicle Equipment Standards

ATVs must have the appropriate equipment (e.g.: head lights, tail lights, working brakes, reflectors, low-pressure bearing tires)
Width and weight restrictions appropriate to type of vehicle

Measures for Environmental Protection

No person shall operate an ATV in such a way as to disrupt or destroy the natural environment including fish habitats, property and flora or fauna.

Complete information about the new regulations can be found at:
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