What You Should Know About All-Terrain and Utility Vehicles


Hunting season quickly approaching; most of us will be out riding our All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV) and Utility Terrain Vehicles (UTV).

The biggest change in the ATV world is the inclusion of “side by sides” and 2-up ATV’s.  The provincial government has legalized (as of July 1, 2015) all of the varieties of ATV’s, that goes for all 2-ups (from the manufacturer), all UTV’s and Side-by-Sides that were, until now, illegal to ride on any public road in Ontario.   While it’s still up to the local municipality to decide, the Ontario government has given the go-ahead for Side by Sides (SxS) and UTV’s to receive the same privileges that apply to ATVs.

The one thing that needs to be clearly spelled out is that this designation simply changes what the definition of an ATV is to include UTV and SxS equipment.  It DOES NOT supersede any municipal regulations that may be in place.  If you could previously ride an ATV on the shoulder of the road in your area, you can now ride a SxS with a passenger(s) in the same fashion.  ATV’s that are capable of carrying a passenger are also legal, provided the passenger seat and foot pegs are in place from the manufacturer.

Quick Facts

  • Off-road vehicle (ORVs) is a broad term that can include single-rider, two-up and side-by-side ATVs and UTV’s.
  • Drivers operating a permitted Off Road Vehicle (ORV) along a road or highway must hold at least a G2 or M2 driver’s licence, and their vehicle must be registered and insured.
  • Helmets, seat belts (where applicable) must be worn at all times, speed limits must be obeyed (generally, 20 km in a 50 km speed limit or less, and 50 km in posted areas over 50 km), insurance, plates, all the normal rules apply.
  • No drinking and driving!  Impaired operation on an ATV/UTV carried the same penalties as if you were driving a car.

Enjoy Ontario’s vast trail systems and have fun!  Lead by example.

Drive safe, drive sober, and slow down!