Winter or summer members of the NVATVC enjoy taking out their ATVs for adventure and fun out on the road. Courtey Photo

WINCHESTER – All off-road vehicles, (ORV) enthusiasts got an early Christmas present last week when the North Dundas Council repealed its ORV bylaw at its May 16 council meeting.

The repealed bylaw regulated the operation of all ORVs and all-terrain vehicles, ATVs on municipal roads in North Dundas.

In 2015, the municipality created and passed a bylaw that regulated when and where these types of vehicles could operate.

The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has since Jan. 1, 2021, changed the way the province manages off-road vehicles (ORVs) as some are allowed on-road in some municipalities including North Dundas. The use of ORVs on highways is controlled under Section 191.8 of the Highway Traffic Act (HTA).

All ORVs that meet the requirements in Ontario Regulation 316/03 for ORVs permitted on-road, are allowed by default on municipal highways under the jurisdiction of municipalities listed in Ontario Regulation 8/03, which includes the Township of North Dundas, unless the municipality has a bylaw prohibiting or restricting the use of some or all such ORVs.

Here are some of the requirements from the Ontario Regulation 316/03 for On-Road Riding:

Driver/Passenger Requirements:

– Driver must be 16 years of age and hold a valid G2, M2 licence

– Driver must carry the registration permit

– No passengers under the age of 8

– Driver and passengers must wear an approved, secured helmet

– Driver and passengers must be seated and belted where provided

– Passengers on 2-up ATVs must be able to reach and use the footrests

Legal Requirements for ATVs/ORVs:

– ATV/ORV must be registered, have a rear licence plate, and must be insured

– ATVs cannot exceed the manufacturer’s overloading warning label when travelling on-road

– Side-by-sides and UTVs must not exceed the width and weight requirements of the manufacturer

– They must be driven in the same direction of the traffic on the shoulder of the road with all lights on

– If the shoulder is unsafe, impassable, or not wide enough so that all tires can be completely on the shoulder, then the travelled portion of the road may be used

Speed regulations:

– 20 km/h is the maximum speed an ORV can travel on roads with a posted speed limit of 50km/h or less.

– 50 km/h is the maximum speed an ORV can travel on roads with a posted speed limit of more than 50 km/h.

The Nation Valley All-Terrain Vehicle Club, (NVATVC) is a not-for-profit club that maintains and controls where trails are located within our township through the help of volunteers. It is also part of the Ontario Federation of All-Terrain Vehicle clubs.

With the current Bylaw No. 37-2015 in effect, ATVs can only operate on all secondary roads within the township save and except those secondary roads within the boundaries and confines of the villages, hamlets, and built-up settlement areas. The bylaw also restricts when vehicles can operate (daily), from one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset. The bylaw also requires that it be reviewed annually.

By repealing the current ATV bylaw, the following will now be permitted:

Chief building official and supervisor of bylaw services, Jacob Forget explained that ORV owners that want to access the NVATVC trails, will now be able to leave directly from their homes that are located within the villages, hamlets, built-up settlement areas, as well as tourists who park their trailer within those areas to start their trip.

President of NVATVC John Garlough said in a press release, “As members of NVATVC I ask that as you start riding through towns, that you obey the rules of the road as the community becomes accustomed to having ATVs in residential areas, as this still remains a privilege and not a right.”

  • The NVATVC will now be permitted to organize events within each of the villages.
  • There is a direct economic benefit of ORV users to access main roads in villages to support local service providers.
  • Support the growth of the membership base of the Nation Valley ATV Club which directly impacts local community organizations fundraising needs; in the previous years, a temporary exemption bylaw had to be obtained for those events.
  • Develop and encourage ORVs tourists to explore our area.

“One of the main economic development drivers of our area is tourism, which must be encouraged at every opportunity, which will ultimately increase the township’s tax base, which is in direct alignment with the counties of SDG regional incentive program as well as the township’s Community Improvement Plan,” said Forget.

Councillor Uhrig said, “I’m more than in support of repealing the bylaw, this has been a long time coming. The Nation Valley club’s done some fabulous work in our community for many years, and this is such a small step we can take and support them and support all riders of ATVs. I’m more than in favour of supporting repealing the bylaw.”

Some councillors expressed their concern about noise from the ATVs but decided they would wait and see what the reality of dropping the existing bylaw would bring in terms of added noise.