Rules and Regulations for ATVs and Off-Road Vehicles

My office has recently received several inquiries regarding dirt bikes and ATV use in areas of Stittsville including the Trans-Canada Trail.

Please remember that anyone using a dirt bike on streets, roadways, shoulders need to have a valid driver’s license, insurance, license plate and ownership.  It’s not uncommon to see dirt bikes in urban settings along the shoulder and sometimes on the roadway driven by youths.  Unless they have the noted documentation above, they are breaking the law and could be subjected to the associated fines for each violation.  A dirt bike cannot be used on trails unless it is designated to be used for off road vehicles.

Anyone spotting dangerous or illegal driving of ATVs or ORVs should report it to the police. Life-threatening emergencies should be reported to 9-1-1 while all other incidents should be phoned in to the police’s non-life threatening extension with as much detail as possible at 613-230-6211.

Detailed information can be obtained under the Off Road Vehicles Act of Ontario.

Despite the legislation regarding ATVs, municipalities have the final say to pass by-laws to allow or restrict use of ORVs on their roads.  Ottawa recently had a pilot project for use of ATVs on roadways but only in Osgoode township and only in designated areas http://ottawa.ca/en/atv-pilot-project-osgoode-ward.  This pilot project ended in November 25, 2015.

Unlike the snowmobile framework, municipalities must opt-in to the ORV framework. This means they may pass a by-law to allow these additional types of ORVs on their roads, but municipalities are not required to pass a by-law.

Existing by-laws may need to be amended to allow these additional types of ORVs on municipal roads.

If a by-law does not exist then ORV operation is not allowed. If in doubt, check with the municipality first before riding on their roads.

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