In the past, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers have reported a higher than normal rate of infractions revolving around ORV’s.  An ORV is a vehicle generally designed and intended for off road use only.  These include side by sides, buggies, dirt bikes, Argos etc.  All off road vehicles must be registered with the MTO.  Off road vehicles that are registered will have a license plate with green writing.  ATV’s and side by sides (SXS) are included in the definition of an Off Road Vehicle, but are defined uniquely for the purposes of being allowed on chosen highways under bylaws applicable to the area.

Some of the mis-conceptions regarding ORV’s.

ORV’s do not require Insurance?

False, All ORV’s operating on public lands must have valid liability insurance (pink card).  This would be in addition to the OF4WD liability insurance.

ORV’s do not require license plates?

False, All ORV’s must be registered and plated to be operated anywhere but on your own property which you occupy.  The ORV plate must be attached to the vehicle in a prescribed manner.

ORV’s can drive on back roads but not highways?

False, ORV’s are not permitted to drive on roads unless a municipal bylaw is in place.  A road is defined in the highway traffic act “highway” includes a common and public highway, street, avenue, parkway, driveway, square, place, bridge, viaduct or trestle, any part of which is intended for or used by the general public for the passage of vehicles and includes the area between the lateral property lines thereof; (“viewed public”) and can be subjective.  In some cases, the Officer will use his discretion.  A general rule of thumb would be, if the road is used by regular vehicles for access to camps or cottages, or for mere passage it is likely a highway as defined in the Highway Traffic Act.  Township or county signage is also a good indicator that it is a highway as defined in the Act.

ORV’s are not subject to environmental rules when using the public land trails?

False, ORV’s are required to stay on the trail and not engage in off-trail riding causing damage or widening of trails.

If I’m driving an ORV then the rules of operating a motor vehicle does not apply to me.  I can drink alcohol and drive without a problem?
False, operating any motor vehicle anywhere in Canada while impaired by alcohol or any drug is a criminal offence and carries the same penalty as if you were on any major highway.

Things you should know.

When driving an ORV you must be wearing a helmet and have all the proper safety features required for such vehicle.

When going trail riding you must un-load the vehicle at the trail head and not engage in driving on roads to avoid fines.  Just because ATV’s are permitted on the road does not mean an ORV can.

ORV’s are generally more capable vehicles in a trail riding environment however should not engage in driving off the trail surface to un-travelled areas in search of that challenging obstacle.  This is not permitted for any vehicle on public land and affects the access rights for everyone when trails become closed due to misuse.

This message is not all inclusive regarding all laws and rules of ORV’s and the OF4WD does not assume any responsibility for the information.  This message is merely a brief over cap of mis-conceptions revolving around ORV uses.

For additional information on all laws revolving around off-road vehicles please the policies, bylaws and legislation section.

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