Province aims to loosen rules for off-road vehicles

by Jason Bain | November 27, 2019
ATV and dirt bike riders ride on an Ontario trail. (Photo by Jason Bain)

Two-wheeled off-road vehicles such as dirt bikes may soon be allowed on local roads if a new provincial proposal becomes law.

The government also plans to give off-road vehicle riders easier access to roadways, connecting them to more trail networks, Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney announced Friday, Nov. 22.

“We know that municipalities are in the best position to decide how these types of off-road vehicles can be safely integrated into their communities,” she stated.

Four-wheelers only

Currently, only four-wheeled off-road vehicles, such as single-rider and two-up all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs) and utility terrain vehicles (UTVs) are permitted on roads.

“The ministry is making legislative and regulatory changes, that if passed, will give municipalities the opportunity to allow additional types of off-road vehicles onto their roads,” Ministry of Transportation spokesperson Joshua Henry said via email.

The proposal is a response to requests from the Ontario Federation of Trail Riders (OFTR) and off-road vehicle manufacturers to eliminate red tape, reduce burden and safely expand access to roadways for more trail networks, Henry stated.

Act passed second reading

The measures are part of the Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, which was introduced on October 28 and passed second reading on Nov. 7. They harmonize Ontario’s approach with other provinces, including Manitoba and Alberta, officials stated.

“The Ontario Federation of Trail Riders is pleased with the Ford Government’s decision to classify off-road motorcycles as an Off Highway Vehicle within regulation 316/03. This will allow for great strides in tourism, economic development and recreational trail use in Ontario,” OFTR President Arthur Ash stated.

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