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ATVs, Snowmobiles, Off-Highway Vehicles

Off-highway vehicle refers to any motorized vehicle designed for cross-country travel on land, water, snow, ice, marsh or swamp land (or other natural terrain) including:
  • four-wheel drive or low pressure tire vehicles,
  • power motor cycles and related two-wheel vehicles,
  • amphibious machines,
  • all terrain vehicles or ATVs,
  • snow vehicles, and
  • minibikes.

The laws and regulations that control how and where you use your off-highway vehicle (such as an ATV or dirt bike) are important.

They help to keep you out of harm's way; they help keep the sport healthy by controlling less responsible riders; and they also help to protect the land you ride on and the people who own it.

The operation of off-highway vehicles is regulated by the Off-Highway Vehicle Act.

At what age can someone ride an ATV? (does this apply to other off-highway vehicles?)

Any person who is 14 years of age and over may operate an ATV under certain conditions.

What about dirt bikes?

A person who is less than 14 years of age may operate a dirt bike if the person:

  1. is operating the dirt bike in a competition or to prepare for a competition;
  2. is under the supervision of an adult;
  3. has successfully completed a dirt bike safety training course approved by the Registrar of Motor Vehicles.

  • a person who is 14 years of age or older, may operate a dirt bike if the person has successfully completed a dirt bike safety training course approved by the Registrar.

Do I need to take a course in order to ride an ATV?

Yes, any person who is 14 or 15 years of age, must successfully complete an ATV safety training course approved by the Registrar and that person must be supervised by an adult who meets one of these requirements:

  • has held a valid driver's licence for 24 months; or
  • holds a valid driver's licence and has successfully completed an ATV safety training course approved by the Registrar.

Yes, if you are 16 years of age or older you must have held a valid driver's licence for 24 months; or have successfully completed an ATV safety training course approved by the Registrar.

What is the ATV course that is required?

The ATV course currently offered is the Canada Safety Council approved course. For course information please contact Highway Safety at 368-5271 or 432-2714.

May I cross the highway on my ATV?

Yes, any person who crosses a highway must hold a valid driver's licence and have held that driver's licence for a minimum of 24 months;

or hold a valid class 5 driver's licence and have successfully completed the ATV safety training course.

May I ride my ATV on the Confederation Trail?

No person shall operate an ATV on the Confederation Trail.

All ATV and dirt bike operators are required to wear personal protective equipment.

What is personal protective equipment?

A helmet that complies with the appropriate standards as set out in the Regulations.

Goggles which wrap around and enclose the eyes (a full face helmet will take the place of goggles).

Gloves, footwear and sturdy clothing which covers the entire body, including the ankles, legs and arms to the wrists.

What is exempt from these rules?

The new rules exempt miniature motor vehicles and minibikes from the application of the Act and these Regulations.

What are miniature motor vehicles and minibikes?

  • "miniature motor vehicles" means a motor vehicle other than a miniature motor cycle. These are small motor vehicles deemed toys and are usually battery operated, such as "Power Wheels."
  • "minibike" means a motor cycle having specifications as prescribed by the regulations. These are the small motor cycles deemed toys by Transport Canada and are usually battery-operated.

Snowmobiling on Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island offers some of the finest snowmobiling trails in the country. Groomed trails are maintained throughout the province for your safety and enjoyment.

A 'trail' is defined as a path, road or route for the use of off-highway vehicles. It is important that all snowmobilers understand and practice the rules of the trail.

Prince Edward Island Snowmobile Laws

When driving a snowmobile you shall:

  1. make crossings to the right and pass on the left;
  2. not overtake and pass another off-highway vehicle on the right, except when the other vehicle is about to turn left;
  3. subject to clause (b), in passing another off-highway vehicle, shall not pull in front of the off-highway vehicle passed until he/she has made sure that he/she can do so without risk to the off-highway vehicle passed;
  4. when the trail is comprised of more than one lane and such lane are in opposite directions, shall drive in the right lane and shall refrain from entering the left hand lane before having ascertained that he/she may do so without danger and after having given warning of his/her intention if followed closely by another off-highway vehicle;
  5. if following another off-highway vehicle, maintain a safe distance therefrom, taking into account the speed and density of the traffic as well as the condition of the trail;
  6. yield the right-of-way to any following off-highway vehicle claiming the right-of-way, by bearing to his/her right;
  7. not drive in reverse without having ascertained that it can be done without risk and without impeding traffic;
  8. when stopping, slowing down or turning, make the following signals:
    • left turn - extend the left arm horizontally to the left
    • right turn - extend the left forearm upwards
    • stop or lessening of speed - extend the left arm downwards
  9. a left turn and a right turn may also be indicated by:

    • signals made by a mechanical device which shall be placed on each side of the off-highway vehicle and pointed in the direction of the intended turn, or by signals made by means of a luminous indicator operated on the left side or the right side of the off-highway vehicle with respect to its directions according to the direction of the intended turn.
  10. a stop or lessening of speed may also be indicated by signals made by means of lights or luminous devices adapted to such purpose at the rear of the off-highway vehicle.
  11. when crossing the highway, roadway or sidewalk portion thereof, the operator of a snowmobile shall:
    • have a valid driver's licence;
    • stop before entering onto the highway;
    • remove all passengers;
    • yield the right-of-way to all other vehicles and persons on the highway; and
    • cross at right angles to the center of the highway, and with lamps and tail lamps illuminated.
  12. No person who is the owner or operator of an off-highway vehicle may operate the vehicle without a certificate of registration.
  13. No person may possess, except on the property of the owner, the vehicle without a certificate of registration.
  14. To operate an off-highway vehicle on a trail leased from the government or any other person by any snowmobile association or club, you must first obtain a permit from that association or club authorizing the operation of the vehicle on that trail.
  15. The Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal may designate any authorized officer of a snowmobile club to be an auxiliary peace officer to enforce the requirements of the Off-Highway Vehicle Act and Regulations.
    • Snowmobiles shall be registered annually at any Access PEI location across the province.
    • Licence plates shall be attached to the front or rear and be visible, readable and unobscured.
    • C.S.A. approved helmets shall be worn by the operators and passengers.
    • No person shall drive a snowmobile at a speed exceeding 8 kilometers within 10 meters of a dwelling or where a person is practicing an out-door sport.
No person who is the owner or operator of a snowmobile shall permit it to be operated by a person under 14 years of age, unless the person is directly supervised by an adult who holds a valid driver's licence.

No person shall operate or have care or control of a snowmobile while his/her ability to operate is impaired by alcohol or drugs, or operate a snowmobile on any land without expressed permission of the owner of that land or the tenant, licensee, or permitee of the owner of that land.

Snowmobiles are only permitted on the Confederation Trail, and other trails part of the PEI Snowmobile Association's trail system, if they have purchased a trail permit. Trail permits can be purchased at any Access PEI location for a registered snowmobile.

Legislation:

For more detailed information on off-highway vehicles, please read the Off-Highway Vehicle Act and Regulations.
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