1. Who can use these vehicles and where can they travel?
On September 19, 2006, the Province of Ontario began a five-year pilot project that allows park employees who have a valid Class A, B, C, D, E, F, G or G2 driver’s licence to operate low-speed vehicles (LSVs) on roads with a posted speed limit of 40 km/hr or less in provincial parks, municipal parks and conservation areas. The rules governing LSV operation in parks and conservation areas remain the same but the new expiry date is December 31, 2014, to coincide with the expanded pilot’s expiry date.
2. How are these vehicles registered for this pilot?
LSVs being operated in municipal and provincial parks and conservation areas are not required to be registered or plated, but are required to have the vehicles insured for liability and only to be driven by park employees.
3. Why were parks originally chosen to be the pilot site for low-speed vehicles?
Parks are ideal locations for the pilot testing of low-speed vehicles because they provide a controlled, low-speed environment in which to test these vehicles.
For example, speed limits on most provincial park roads do not exceed 40 km/h and campground roads have speed limits of 20 km/h. This allows the LSVs to operate at the same speed as the rest of the park’s traffic.
From an environmental standpoint, parks provide good pilot sites for LSVs. Provincial and municipal parks and conservation areas have a strong commitment to environmental stewardship and education, and the use of emissions-free vehicles is one way to preserve the air quality in the parks. The vehicles are also valuable teaching tools in educating park visitors on how to creatively reduce their environmental impact.
4. What are the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Natural Resources/municipalities doing to ensure the safety of park employees operating low-speed vehicles?
The regulation allowing the use of low-speed vehicles requires that operators have a valid driver’s licence. This ensures that all operators are familiar with the rules of the road and have demonstrated their driving ability.
The rationale for restricting these vehicles to low speed roads is to limit the potential road safety risks of these vehicles operating in mixed traffic.
The Ministry of Natural Resources has a strong Occupational Health and Safety policy that restricts the use of motor vehicles to experienced, responsible staff. Staff is trained in the specific operation of low-speed vehicles before being permitted to drive them on park roads.