Off-Road Vehicle Laws and Safety

RCMP remind operators of off-road vehicle laws and safety

Every year, RCMP respond to numerous calls about snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, dirt bikes and other off-road vehicles. Here are the laws that apply to anyone operating an off-road vehicle. When operating an off-road vehicle on public land (ditches, Crown Land, roads, groomed snowmobile trails, etc.) the following laws apply:

– The ORV must be registered;

– Must be at least 14 years of age to operate an ORV without supervision;

– 12-13 year olds must only operate an ORV under the direct supervision (within direct sight) of a parent;

– Must be at least 16 years of age and possess a valid driver’s licence in order to operate across a roadway or shoulder;

– Must not operate an ORV with more passengers than the ORV is designed to carry;

– Everyone riding an ORV must wear an approved helmet, unless:

i. The ORV is equipped with occupant roll-over protection and seat belts, and the seat belts are being used, or

ii. The ORV is being used for farming, commercial fishing, hunting or trapping operations;

– Must not operate on roadway or shoulder (see Section 34 of the Off-Road Vehicle Act for exceptions for agricultural purposes)

– May only cross a roadway or shoulder at an intersection or designated ORV crossing such as a snowmobile trail crossing, and must hold a valid driver’s license (see Section 35 of the Off-Road Vehicle Act);

– Must not carry open liquor or cannabis;

– Must operate the ORV in a safe and prudent manner;

– Must have headlights and tail lights on from 30 minutes prior to sunset until 30 minutes after sunrise. When operating on private land (yards, farm land, pasture land, etc.):

– Ensure you have permission of the land owner;

– While some provincial laws such as the Off-Road Vehicle Act do not apply to private property, the Criminal Code of Canada does. Therefore, operating an ORV while impaired or with a blood alcohol concentration or blood drug concentration over the legal limit is a criminal offence, as is operating an ORV in a dangerous manner.

“This past year, 50% of fatal ORV collisions involved alcohol and/or drugs,“ said Sergeant Mark Hume, Officer in Charge of Westman Traffic Services. “In 60% of the collisions reported to police, the operator was found to be driving too fast and either lost control or struck an object. Of those killed in collisions, 1 in 3 were not wearing a helmet. All of these deaths could have been prevented.”


In addition to the above reminders from the RCMP regarding the laws that apply to anyone operating an off-road vehicle, there are additional rules to be followed that are outlined in our Off Road Vehicle By-Law 11-2008 that you can view here.