ATVs: Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties are the boss

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page - John Down­ing, Alexandria

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.”

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