Posted on 07/11/2013, 9:36 am, by

With summer in full swing, many people will take to the outdoors and enjoy the use of off-road vehicles. For many campers and cottagers, this often equates to a quad or dirt-bike ride on trails that may cross roadways.

As owners and operators, it is imperative to have a good understanding of the rules as laid out in the Off Road Vehicle Act.

General need-to-know rules:

  • Helmets are required by law for all recreational riders.
  • Off-road vehicles are not intended to be operated upon a roadway, the shoulder, across the median of a divided highway or on any sidewalks.
  • The Act does have some provisions to cross an intersection. The person must have a valid driver’s licence and cross at 90 degrees near the intersection.
  • Helmets are required by law for all recreational riders.
  • As parents, we need to mitigate the risks and ensure our kids understand safe riding practices, can legally operate an off-road vehicle and have the maturity to handle the powerful machinery.

Before allowing your child to operate an off-road vehicle, be aware of the following:

  • A young person under the age of 14 cannot operate an off-road vehicle unless supervised and accompanied by and at all times within clear view of the person’s parent or a person who is 18 and authorized by the parent. Otherwise, the parent/guardian can be charged, fined, and the off-road vehicle seized.
  • A young person over 14 years can ride but cannot cross a roadway until they reach 16 years of age and have a valid driver’s licence to do so.

On average, the Manitoba RCMP investigates five fatal off-road vehicle collisions every year. In most instances, the deceased was not wearing a helmet, and speed and alcohol were also contributing factors. One-third of the victims were under the age of 21.

Fines can average between $107 dollars to thousands of dollars. In some cases, the offence necessitates a court appearance.

Enjoy the summer months and please ride safely. Your safety and security is our primary goal.

If you have any questions or are unsure of your legal obligations under the Off Road Vehicle Act, please contact your local RCMP detachment or visit our site at