Off-road vehicles (ORVs) now have more access to the shoulder and paved portions of some Ontario highways. These new regulations, effective July 31, 2003, apply exclusively to one category of ORV. This is defined as an off-road vehicle that:
New regulations do not apply to other types of off-road vehicles such as mini-bikes, dirt bikes and moto-cross bikes.
Municipalities have the authority to determine whether or not off-road vehicles (ORVs) should be allowed access to roads under their authority. Municipalities must put a by-law in place for ORVs to be allowed access to their roads. Municipalities can determine which roads, where on the road, time of day, and season that ORVs are allowed access. They can also set speed limits that are lower than those set out in the regulation. If a by-law does not exist, ORVs are not allowed access to that municipality's roads.
Off-road vehicles (ORVs) are any two or three-wheeled motorized vehicles as well as specific vehicles described by regulations, with four or more wheels, intended for recreational use.
The following type of off-road vehicle is allowed access to provincial roads: - an ORV that
Certain off-road vehicles are allowed to operate on the shoulder of the road and can move to the travelled portion of the highway if the shoulder is impassable/unsafe. Generally, these vehicles are allowed access to highways 500-899, 7000 series highways and highways with low traffic volume (Summer Average Daily Traffic less than 5000).
The specific sections of highways are defined in the regulation schedules. Please refer to www.e-laws.gov.on.ca for details.
Municipalities have the authority to pass by-laws to define if, where and when off-road vehicle use is appropriate on municipal roads.
Off-road vehicles are not allowed on rights-of-way (e.g., medians) between opposing lanes of traffic. They cannot operate in a construction zone on a closed highway or within a provincial park unless allowed by the park.
Stakeholders identified a need for increased access for recreational users of ORVs so that they could travel between trails and use their off-road vehicles to access locations where they can hunt and fish.
Ontario's rural economy and quality of life is enhanced by allowing off-road vehicles to have increased access to specific highways under safe circumstances.
Municipalities have the autonomy to decide if, where and when off-road vehicle use is appropriate on municipal roads.
They may pass a by-law to allow off-road vehicles access to their roads and to define the times/seasons for ORV operation, as well as a lower speed limit.
It is against the law to drive an off-road vehicle when impaired by alcohol or drugs.
If the ORV driver is impaired or has a blood alcohol concentration of more than 80 milligrams in 100 millilitres of blood (.08), or if the driver refuses to take a breathalyzer test, the police can lay a charge under the Criminal Code of Canada.
If convicted, the driver will have a criminal record and may be required to pay a fine.
If a driver is convicted for the first time, he/she will receive a one-year driver's licence suspension. If convicted a second time, his/her driver's licence will be suspended for three years. For a third conviction, the driver would get a lifetime suspension from driving with the possibility of reinstatement after 10 years. Those convicted a fourth time will be suspended from driving for life with no possibility of reinstatement.
The convicted driver must also complete a remedial measures program assessment, education/treatment and follow-up before he/she can get his/her driver's licence back. Suspended drivers must pay $150 to have their licence reinstated; and will be subject to the Ignition Interlock Program.
Complete information about these regulations can be found at: www.e-laws.gov.on.ca