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Off-Road Vehicle Legislation

The Off-Road Vehicles Act of Manitoba defines an all terrain vehicle (ATV) as an off-road vehicle that operates or travels on three or more low-pressure tires, has a seat designed to be straddled by the operator of the vehicle, and has handlebars for steering the vehicle.

 The Act requires that the vehicle have a valid registration card, that the vehicle displays the quantity and type of number plates that those regulations prescribe for use on an ATV of its registration class, and that the number plates display the vehicle’s registration card number and stickers showing that the registration is valid.

 Children under the age of 14 years are not allowed to operate an ATV unless supervised and accompanied by and at all times within clear view of the child’s parent or a person who has attained the age of 18 years and has been authorized by the parent to supervise the child.

 The mandatory safety requirements include the wearing of a seat belt for every operator of and passenger in an ATV which is being operated in which a seat belt assembly is provided. Helmets are required unless the vehicle is used in the course of farming, commercial fishing, hunting or trapping operations. The requirement on helmets is not mandatory to the operator or passengers of an ATV equipped with occupant roll-over protection and seat belt assemblies.

 There are many restrictions as to where an ATV can be operated. It can not be operated on privately owned land without the express or implied consent of the owner or lawful occupier of the property. It can not be operated on Crown land allocated by lease or permit, without the express or implied consent of the lawful occupier of the property, unless the operator is otherwise lawfully authorized to enter such land. It can not be operated within 30 meters of a dwelling between the hours of twelve midnight and seven o’clock in the morning, unless the dwelling is located on the operator’s own property or property under the operator’s control or as an invited guest. It can not be operated within 30 meters of a playground or area set aside for other recreational use, unless the area is enclosed or fenced or unless the ATV is required for the maintenance or operation thereof. Further, no person can operate an ATV in a parking lot unless it is used to gain access to or from an ATV use area, or to the vehicle used to transport the ATV to an ATV use area. When it comes to highways, no person can operate an ATV on or across a roadway or the shoulder thereof; on or across the median of a divided highway; on the right-of-way of an interchange; or on or across a sidewalk.

 A person may operate an ATV directly across a roadway or shoulder at or within 5 meters of an intersection, unless prohibited by the traffic authority. The ATV can be used at any other place along the highway if the distance to the nearest intersection is 3 km or more, unless prohibited by the traffic authority. It can be used at any place designated by the traffic authority as a place on the highway where ATVs may cross a roadway and shoulder; or along any highway or portion thereof where the traffic authority has permitted ATVs to cross without regard to location. No person shall operate an ATV across any roadway and shoulder if the operator does not have a clear view of traffic for a sufficient distance to determine whether the roadway and shoulder can be crossed in safety.

 Finally, we at SNJ want to make sure to protect the trails and the nature surrounding it. Therefore, when conditions are dry, please be very cautious when using an ATV in forested areas. Sparks can easily ignite fires. Also remember to stay on developed trails, stop frequently to check areas around the engine and exhaust for debris and carefully dispose of any debris found. And please make sure to carry a small shovel, axe and fire extinguisher on your ATV all times in order to limit any damage caused by a fire.

Notice: The articles on our website are provided for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice or opinion. They reflect the current state of the law as at the date of posting on the website, and are subject to change without notice. If you require legal advice or opinion, we would be pleased to provide you with our assistance on any of the issues raised in these articles.