ATVs: Municipalities are the boss
The Editor, With reference to the article “Green Light for new ATV trail” by Scott Carmichael ( The Glengarry News, February 4, 2015) a report on a recent South Glengarry council meeting to consider a request by the Glendaler's Winter Sports Club for permission to use an unopened road allowance as part of an ATV trail, a proposal opposed by local resident adjacent landowners.
Club spokesman Steve McDonald is quoted as saying that “We currently use green roads (unopened road allowances) in North and South Glengarry...” An ATV is defined as a four wheeler steered with handlebars designed to carry a driver only -- no passenger. All other kinds of off-road vehicles -- ATVs with passenger, Argos, dune buggies and the like are excluded and so cannot legally be driven freely on the roads. This bylaw is posted on the North Glengarry website -essential reading for all ATV operators as are the relevant sections of the Highway Traffic Act . Under the provisions of the Highway Traffic Act Section 191.8 concerning off- road vehicle legislation, “Municipalities have the authority to determine whether or not offroad vehicles (ORVs) should be allowed access to roads under their authority. Municipalities must put a by-law in place for ORVs to be allowed access to their roads. Municipalities can determine which roads, where on a road, time of day, and season that ORVs are allowed access. They can also set speed limits that are lower than those set out in the regulation. If a by-law does not exist, ORVs are not allowed access to that municipality's roads.”
Otherwise riders on ATVs do not have a common law right to drive on unopened road allowances or green roads within the Township of North Glengarry.
As noted legal expert on municipal roads “Rusty” Russell once said with respect to unopened road allowances “the municipality is the boss.”