Community

Police issue trail safety reminder

The Durham Regional Police Service is asking residents to learn the rules of the road before riding ATVs, and to ensure they have proper permits and safety equipment.

In a safety statement issued earlier this week, DRPS noted ATVs are the fastest growing recreational vehicle on the market. While riding an ATV can be a fun summertime activity, police say it can also be very dangerous. Each year officers issue tickets for ATV infractions and complaints come in regarding riders trespassing on private property, as well as damage to private property as a result of ATV use.

It is important to keep in the mind the following tips to prevent accidents and injuries, and to ensure that you are riding legally and in permitted areas.

Safety Tips:

  • Never carry a passenger on your ATV, as a passenger can throw off the vehicle’s balance and cause injury;
  • Under the Highway Traffic Act, an approved motorcycle helmet must be worn at all times and must be strapped securely under the chin;
  • Wear appropriate gear, including eye protection, long sleeves, pants, gloves and boots;
  • Have a safety kit on board, including a flare, flashlight, map and compass;
  • Carry a cellphone and tell someone where you plan on going.

Rules of the Road:

  • Children 12 years old and younger are not permitted to drive an ATV except on land occupied by the vehicle owner, or under close supervision of an adult;
  • You must have a valid permit for your ATV and a number plate displayed on the vehicle;
  • You must have insurance on your ATV because it is a motorized vehicle. You must be able to show the insurance to a police officer if requested;
  • If you lend your ATV to another person, you are liable for any damages or injuries should an accident occur;
  • Operating an ATV while impaired is against the law. Impaired riders can be charged under the Highway Traffic Act, and penalties can include fines, loss of licence, and incarceration.

ATVs can only be legally driven in Durham Region on two occasions — on private property with consent from the property owner, and on designated trails. The only designated trail in the Durham Region is in the Ganaraska Forest in Clarington, in which a valid trail permit is required.
You are not allowed to ride ATVs on any public road or road allowance unless the municipality has passed a consenting by-law. To date, there is only one municipality in Durham Region which has a by-law allowing access to local roads. The Township of Brock permits the operation of ATVs on open and maintained roads between Dec. 1 and March 31.
To ride an ATV on-road (on permitted roads only), riders must possess a valid G2 or M2 class license. Police can charge riders driving on highways and rights-of-way under Reg. 316/03 of the Highway Traffic Act.

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