Getting outside and enjoying Manitoba's beautiful outdoors is long-awaited and eagerly anticipated. There are so many ways to spend your time outside, and one of those is riding off-road vehicles (ORVs). While great fun, and a great way to explore Manitoba, it is important for riders to know the laws governing ORV use for everyone's safety as well as everyone's outdoor enjoyment.
Most of the laws around ORVs fall under the Off Road Vehicles Act. For details, please refer to the Act, but here are some general rules to keep in mind when riding an ORV:
- Anyone under the age of 14 must have direct supervision of a parent or legal guardian who is a minimum of 18 years of age. Youth over the age of 14 can ride without parental supervision, but cannot cross a roadway until they obtain a valid driver's licence.
- ORVs are not to be operated on roadways, shoulders, medians of divided roadways, or sidewalks
- ORVs are permitted to be in the ditch, provided travel is in the same direction as vehicle traffic, the ORV is to the right of the roadway and the shoulder, and the ORV is being operated in an area where ORV use is permitted. Always remember to be on the lookout for hazards in the ditch, such as culverts, driveway approaches, and road signs
- No riding:
- On privately owned or leased land without permission
- Within 30 metres of a dwelling that is not yours between midnight and 7:00 am
- Within 30 metres of a playground or area set aside for recreation that is not fully fenced
- In a careless manner
- Without reasonable consideration for other persons and property
- Stay away from environmentally sensitive areas and wetlands, and areas easily damaged by churning wheels
- When conditions are dry, use caution as sparks from an ORV can ignite grass and branches, starting a fire
- Be aware of local bylaws in the area you are riding
- Impaired driving laws apply to ALL motorized vehicles. Only operate an ORV when sober and alert
The laws are in place to keep everyone safe. When not followed, people can get seriously injured. In 2020, RCMP in Manitoba responded to seven fatal collisions involving ORVs and 46 collisions where serious injury occurred. Contributing factors in these collisions included speed, no helmet, impaired driving, and driver inexperience.
Knowledge and safety are key, so make sure you are aware of the rules in place in the area where you are riding. Be respectful and courteous of others using the outdoors, and enjoy the ride!