What You Need to Know About Riding Your ATV, ORV, or Snowmobile in Ontario.

What You Need to Know About Riding Your ATV, ORV, or Snowmobile in Ontario.

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The following is a summary of the requirements of the Off Road Vehicles Act and the Motorized Snow Machines Act in Ontario.

ATV's and Off Road Vehicles in Ontario.

If you own or operate an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) or any off road vehicle in Ontario, you are subject to the rules and regulations of the Off Road Vehicles Act. Mini-bikes,
dune buggies and similar motorized vehicles with two or more wheels and designed primarily for recreational use are also governed by the Act.

The following is a summary of the requirements of the Act, which you should know.


ATV & ORV FACTS


DEFINITIONS
ORV (Off-Road Vehicle) – a vehicle propelled or driven otherwise than by muscular power or wind and designed to travel:
• On not more than three wheels, or
• On more than three wheels and being of a prescribed class of vehicle.

Examples: Dirt Bikes, Dune Buggies, Utility Vehicles, Mini Bikes.

ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle) – an ORV that:
• Has four wheels, the tires of all which are in contact with the ground
• Has steering handlebars
• Has a seat that is designed to be straddled by the driver
• Is designed to carry a driver only and no passengers

REGISTRATION
By law all ORV’s must be registered with the Ministry of
Transportation—even if operated only on your premises.
A one-time fee is payable at a Driver and Vehicle License
Issuing Office. A licence plate and registration permit is
provided together with mounting instructions. Off-Road
Vehicles may not be registered to anyone under age 16.


Implements of Husbandry
Self-propelled implements of husbandry do not require
registration under the Off-Road Vehicles Act. These are
defined as a vehicle designed to perform, or permanently
altered to perform, a single specific agricultural function.
ORV’s (including ATV’s) are designed primarily for recreational
use and even though they may have attachments for
agricultural operations, these attachments are not deemed
to be permanent. ORV’s which are designed as utility
vehicles are regarded as usable for other purposes
and therefore must be registered.


OPERATION ON PUBLIC ROADS
It is unlawful to operate any Off-Road Vehicle on any public
roadway, street or highway except as noted below. This
includes the entire area between the boundary lines of
adjacent property including ditches.


ORV’s (including ATV’s) may be driven directly across certain roads.
ORV’s (including ATV’s) with three or more wheels may be driven along a public road by a farmer engaged in a farming activity or by a licensed trapper while trapping, provided:
1. The ORV is registered and its permit is carried by the driver.
2. The ORV is insured on a motor vehicle liability policy and that the driver carries proof of such insurance.
3. The driver is the holder of a valid drivers license that is in the driver’s possession.
4. A slow-moving vehicle sign is displayed on the back.

ATV’s (as described in the definitions section) may be driven on certain highways, highway shoulders, or municipal roads where a by-law has been passed allowing such operation provided that, in addition to point 1, 2, & 3:
5. Headlights and tail lights are activated at all times on a highway.
6. A brake light is required if the ATV was manufactured after January 1, 1998.
7. The driver wears a helmet and no passengers are on the vehicle.
8. The driver is travelling no more than 20 km/h where the speed limit on a highway is not greater than 50 km/h, and 50 km/h where the speed limit is greater than 50 km/h. 

DRIVER REQUIREMENTS
Persons under 12 years of age are not permitted to drive
an ORV except on land occupied by the vehicle owner or
while under close supervision of an adult.
If crossing or operating an ORV on a road (when permitted
as previously described) the driver must be in possession of
a valid driver’s licence.
Helmets meeting the standards of the Act must be worn
when operating an ORV on premises other than property
owned by the vehicle owner.
The proper way to protect yourself is to insure your ORV on
an automobile policy.


INSURANCE FOR OFF ROAD VEHICLES
The law requires that ORV’s be insured under a motor
vehicle liability policy. In Ontario, this means an automobile
insurance policy.
The owner as well as the driver is liable for injury or
property damage arising out of the operation of the OffRoad Vehicle.

Personal and farm liability policies are not considered motor vehicle liability policies in accordance with the Insurance Act. In fact, personal and farm liability policies usually exclude “the operation of any vehicle subject to motor vehicle registration” such as Off-Road Vehicles. Therefore they would offer no protection or defence against legal
action.

What You Need to Know About Your Snowmobile

If you own or operate a motorized snow vehicle (MSV) in Ontario, you are subject to the rules and regulations of the Motorized Snow Vehicle Act. All snow mobiles and other self-propelled vehicles designed to be driven primarily on snow, are governed by the Act. The following is a summary of the requirements of the Act, which you should know.


Motorized Snow Vehicles (MSV) Facts


REGISTRATION
All motorized snow vehicles must be registered with the
Ministry of Transportation—even if operated only on your
premises. A one-time permit fee is payable at a Driver
and Vehicle License Issuing Office. A decal bearing the
registration number is provided, together with mounting
instructions.


ANNUAL VALIDATION STICKER
Unless your snowmobile is operated only on land
owned or occupied by you (or in certain parts of
remote Northern Ontario) a validation sticker must be
affixed to the registration decal. There is an annual fee
for this sticker.


FARM USE
There are no special exemptions for snowmobiles used in a
farming operation. The same rules apply to all snowmobiles
regardless of the purpose for its operation.


GENERAL OPERATION
You may operate your MSV on your own premises, on
private trails of organizations to which you are a member,
or on other lands provided you have the owner’s written permission.

You may drive in public parks and conservation
areas except where prohibited. Local municipalities have the
right to regulate or prohibit the operation of snowmobiles
within their jurisdictions both on or off the roadway.


OPERATION ON PUBLIC ROADS
You may not drive an MSV anywhere on any 400 series
highway or other major expressway in Ontario. On any
other roadway you may not drive on the serviced (paved)
portion or even on the plowed portion of the adjacent
shoulder—except to cross, and crossing can only be done
at a 90 degree angle (right angle) to the road.

Except where prohibited, you may drive your MSV along
the road allowance between the plowed portion of
the shoulder and the adjacent property line or fence,
provided you drive as far away from the serviced road as
possible.

You may not drive faster than 20 km /hr where the speed
limit for cars is 50 km/h or less. You may not drive faster
than 50 km/h where the speed limit for cars is more than
50 km/h.

Joint Responsibility
Both the owner of a snowmobile and the operator are
responsible for any violations of the Act and both are liable
for any injury or property damage caused by the vehicle.


DRIVER REQUIREMENTS
To drive along or across a highway or public roadway a
person must be at least 16 years of age and must hold
either a valid Driver’s Licence or an Ontario Motorized Snow
Vehicles Operator’s Licence.

Under no circumstances may anyone under the age of
16 operate an MSV along or across any public roadway.
Persons between 12 to 15 years of age who hold an
Ontario Motorized Snow Vehicles Operator’s Permit
may operate a snow vehicle on trails which are established
and maintained by a formal snow vehicle recreational
organization.

Helmets meeting the standards of the Act must be worn
when operating or riding a snowmobile and any attached
cutters, anywhere other than on premises owned by the
vehicle owner.


INSURANCE FOR MOTORIZED SNOW VEHICLES (MSV’S)
The law requires that snowmobiles be insured under a
vehicle liability policy. In Ontario, this means an automobile
insurance policy.

Proof of insurance must be carried by the driver.
Snowmobiles operated solely on lands owned by the
vehicle owner do not require vehicle liability coverage. The
owner as well as the driver however, would be liable for
injury or property damage arising out of the operation of
the snowmobile.

Personal and farm liability policies are not vehicle
liability policies in accordance with the Insurance Act.
These policies usually exclude “the operation of any
vehicle subject to motor vehicle registration,” which would
include snowmobiles. They would therefore offer no
protection or defence against legal action.


NOTE: This blogpost is provided for information and illustration purposes only.
For more information, obtain your own copy of the official Off Road Vehicles
Handbook available at a Driver Examination office or Vehicle Licence Issuing
Office near you

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