Drive an ATV

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1 : What types of ORVs and ATVs can operate on-road?
Q2 : What are the requirements for riding ORVs on-road?
Q3 : What is a two-up ATV?
Q4 : What is a side-by-side ORV?
Q5 : What is a utility terrain vehicle (UTV)?
Q6 : What types of roads can ORVs and ATVs use?
Q7 : Where should ORVs be driven on-road?
Q8 : Do municipalities have to pass by-laws to allow ORVs on their roads?
Q9 : What are the rules to drive an ORV on-road?
Q10 : Are there age restrictions for passengers riding on-road?
Q11 : What are the new operator and rider requirements?
Q12 : What type of insurance is required to operate on-road?
Q13 : What are the requirements for an ATV's overloading warning label?
Q14 : What are the requirements for an ORV's compliance label?
Q15 : How will on-road operation be enforced?
Q16 : Why has on-road access been extended to Crown land roads within municipalities?
Q17 : What changes have been made to the farmer and trapper exemption?
Q18 : What changes have been made to the public works exemption?
Q19 : What changes have been made to the Far Northern Ontario exemption?


Q1 : What types of ORVs and ATVs can operate on-road?

Effective July 1, 2015, more types of ORVs and ATVs are allowed on some provincial highways and municipal roads, where permitted. These vehicles include:

  • Single-rider ATVs
  • Two-up ATVs
  • Side-by-Side ORVs
  • Utility Terrain Vehicles (UTVs)

Q2 : What are the requirements for riding ORVs on-road?

ORVs that meet the requirements under Section 1 of the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) Regulation 316/03 and Section 10 of the regulation may operate on permitted provincial highways and municipal roads where a by-law permits their use.

  • Check Section 1 of the regulation to find out if your ORV or ATV is eligible for on-road use.
  • Check Section 10 of the regulation for specific industry standards and equipment requirements.

Please check your ORV's compliance label to ensure that the manufacturer certifies it meets one of the following standards outlined below. An ORV that does not meet any of these standards is restricted to off-road use only.

  • If manufactured after December 31, 2001, the ORV must meet the equipment configuration and performance requirements outlined in at least one of the following applicable standards:
    • ANSI/SVIA-1-2001, entitled American National Standard for Four Wheel All-Terrain Vehicles — Equipment, Configuration, and Performance Requirements
    • ANSI/SVIA 1-2007, entitled American National Standard for Four Wheel All-Terrain Vehicles
    • ANSI/SVIA 1-2010, entitled American National Standard for Four Wheel All-Terrain Vehicles
    • ANSI/ROHVA 1-2011, entitled American National Standard for Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles
    • COHV 1-2012, entitled Canadian Off-Highway Vehicle Distributors Council Standard for Four Wheel All-Terrain Vehicles
    • COHV 2-2012, entitled Canadian Off-Highway Vehicle Distributors Council Standard for Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles
    • ANSI/OPEI B71.9-2012, entitled American National Standard for Multipurpose Off-Highway Utility Vehicles
    • COHV 3-2013, entitled Canadian Off-Highway Vehicle Distributors Council Standard for Multipurpose Off-Highway Utility Vehicles
    • ANSI/ROHVA 1-2014, entitled American National Standard for Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles

Learn more about the COHV Voluntary Standards.


Q3 : What is a two-up ATV?

A two-up ATV is designed for a driver and one passenger only; must have a seat designed to be straddled by the passenger while sitting facing forward behind the driver; and, foot rests for the passenger that are separate from the foot rests for the driver.

All ATVs must display an overloading warning label and a manufacture compliance label in plain view.

Please check your ATV compliance label to ensure the manufacturer certifies it meets one of the standards for this type of ATV.


Q4 : What is a side-by-side ORV?

A side-by-side ORV is a type of ORV that must have:

  • four or more wheels that contact the ground
  • a steering wheel
  • seats that are not designed to be straddled
  • has an engine displacement equal to or less than 1,000 cubic centimetres
  • a weight of 1,700 kilograms or less
  • an overall width of 2.03 metres or less (excluding mirrors)
  • a roll-over protective structure
  • a handle or device that an occupant can grasp
  • a seat belt for each seating position
  • a rear view mirror

All ORVs must display a manufacture compliance label in plain view.

Please check your ORV's compliance label to ensure the manufacturer certifies it meets one of the standards for this type of ORV.


Q5 : What is a utility terrain vehicle (UTV)?

A UTV is a type of ORV that must have:

  • four or more wheels that contact the ground
  • a steering wheel
  • seats that are not designed to be straddled
  • a minimum cargo capacity of 159 kilograms
  • a weight of 1,814 kilograms or less
  • an overall width of 2.03 metres or less (excluding mirrors)
  • an occupant protective structure
  • a handle or device that an occupant can grasp
  • a seat belt for each seating position
  • a rear view mirror

All UTVs must display a manufacture compliance label in plain view.

Please check your UTV's compliance label to ensure the manufacturer certifies it meets one of the standards for this type of UTV.


Q6 : What types of roads can ORVs and ATVs use?

On selected provincial highways identified in Schedule B of HTA Reg. 316/03.

On municipal roads where a by-law permits their use. Municipalities may also create rules to specify the months and/or hours that ATVs and ORVs can operate on their roads.

ORVs may not operate on provincial highways and roads identified in Schedule A of HTA Reg. 316/03.

If there is no municipal by-law then operation of an ORV, ATV and UTV is prohibited.

If in doubt, check with the municipality first before riding.


Q7 : Where should ORVs be driven on-road?

Along the shoulder of the roadway in the same direction of traffic.

If the shoulder is obstructed or if there is no shoulder, ride as close to the right of the road as possible.

If the ORV is too large to fully operate on the shoulder of a roadway with all tires on the shoulder, the ORV may ride on the roadway as close to the right of the road as possible.


Q8 : Do municipalities have to pass by-laws to allow ORVs on their roads?

Yes. Unlike the snowmobile framework, municipalities must opt-in to the ORV framework. This means they may pass a by-law to allow these additional types of ORVs on their roads, but municipalities are not required to pass a by-law.

Existing by-laws may need to be amended to allow these additional types of ORVs on municipal roads.

If a by-law does not exist then ORV operation is not allowed.

If in doubt, check with the municipality first before riding on their roads.


Q9 : What are the rules to drive an ORV on-road?

Only those with a minimum G2 or M2 licence may operate an ORV on highways and municipal roads where permitted.

Operators must wear an approved motorcycle helmet that is securely fastened under the chin with a chin strap.

Graduated Licensing System requirements apply to young and novice drivers when driving on-road.

The driver must carry the registration permit or a true copy (i.e. photocopy of both front and back of the permit).


Q10 : Are there age restrictions for passengers riding on-road?

Yes. Children under the age of eight are not permitted to be a passenger on an ORV that is operating on-road.

This requirement aligns with existing Highway Traffic Act seat belt rules.


Q11 : What are the new operator and rider requirements?

Where applicable, the existing operating requirements for single-rider ATVs have been transferred to these additional types of ORVs.

There are new rules that include:

  • If the vehicle was manufactured with seat belts, everyone must buckle up.
  • If the vehicle has passenger foot rests, the passenger must be able to reach these foot rests.
  • The number of occupants is limited to the number of available seating positions.
  • No passengers under the age of 8 are allowed and additional passenger restrictions apply if the driver is a young and novice driver with a minimum G2 or M2 licence.
  • All riders – drivers and passengers – must wear an approved motorcycle helmet.

Q12 : What type of insurance is required to operate on-road?

The ORV must be insured under a motor vehicle liability policy that complies with the Insurance Act and with section 2 of the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act.


Q13 : What are the requirements for an ATV's overloading warning label?

ATVs, including single-rider and two-up ATVs, manufactured after December 31, 2001 must display an overloading warning label placed on the ATV at the time of original manufacture to show the maximum weight capacity as outlined in Section 11 of the regulation.

This label must be displayed in plain view and not altered or damaged.


Q14 : What are the requirements for an ORV's compliance label?

All ORVs manufactured after December 31, 2001 must display a compliance label placed on the vehicle at the time of original manufacture to show the manufacturer's certification that the vehicle meets one of the specified vehicle standards identified in the regulation under Section 10 of the regulation.

This label must be displayed in plain view and not altered or damaged.


Q15 : How will on-road operation be enforced?

There will be an education period in place from July to September 2015 to allow the public and riding community to adjust to these changes.

This allows stakeholders, the broader public and riding community to familiarize themselves with the changes prior to Part I tickets being issued for new offences specific to these additional types of ORVs.

During this public education period, police officers may still issue tickets for traditional HTA offences (e.g., speeding, disobeying traffic signals, etc.) and lay charges for new offences through a summons.

Full enforcement is expected by September 2015.


Q16 : Why has on-road access been extended to Crown land roads within municipalities?

Currently, as part of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry's (MNRF) Public Lands Act Free Use policy, ORVs are permitted to operate on Crown land.

These changes clarify that MNRF is the road authority for roads on Crown land administered under the Public Lands Act (PLA) and determine ORV access to Crown land roads.

These changes also extend to allow the governing body of provincial parks and conservation reserves to determine ORV access to roads under their jurisdiction.


Q17 : What changes have been made to the farmer and trapper exemption?

All existing exemptions remain under Section 27 of the regulation.

The new changes now allow farmers and trappers to use ORVs of any size while carrying out their commercial duties.


Q18 : What changes have been made to the public works exemption?

All existing exemptions remain under Section 28 of the regulation.

The changes now allow public works employees, as defined in the regulation, to use ORVs of any size while carrying out their commercial duties.


Q19 : What changes have been made to the Far Northern Ontario exemption?

All existing exemptions remain under Section 29 of the regulation.

The changes have returned local decision-making to municipalities in Far Northern Ontario which allow them to determine ORV use on their roads.

These municipalities may now pass by-laws restricting ORV use on their roads.


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