ATV Fatalities On The Rise

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is reporting a considerable increase in ATV fatalities across Ontario in 2024 thus far, with more than half of the deceased found without a helmet.

Nine people (eight drivers, one passenger) have died in OPP-investigated ATV incidents this year, compared to three drivers and one passenger at this time last year. With one third of this year’s fatalities involving alcohol and/or drugs, the data is a reminder that some ATV riders dismiss the significant risks these (and other poor riding behaviours) pose.

ATV Safety Awareness Week runs from May 31, 2024, to June 9, 2024. The OPP and its valued partner, the Ontario Federation of All Terrain Vehicle Clubs (OFATV), are urging all ATV riders, regardless of riding experience or skill level, to wear a properly fitted off-road vehicle helmet during every ride. ATV enthusiasts are also reminded to always ride sober/drug-free, slow down, and inexperienced riders are urged to take an ATV driving course.

In 2015, the provincial government legalized “Side by Sides” (SxS) and 2-up ATV’s. That goes for all 2-ups (from the manufacturer), all UTV’s and SxS’s. While it’s still up to the local municipality to decide, the Ontario government has given the go-ahead for SxS’s and UTV’s to receive the same privileges that apply to ATVs. The one thing that needs to be clearly spelled out is that this designation simply changes what the definition of an ATV is to include UTV and SxS equipment. It does not supersede any municipal regulations that may be in place. If you could previously ride an ATV on the shoulder of the road in your area, you can now ride a SxS with a passenger(s) in the same fashion. ATV’s that are capable of carrying a passenger are also legal, provided the passenger seat and foot pegs are in place from the manufacturer.

Quick Facts:

  • Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) is a broad term that can include single-rider, two-up and side-by-side ATVs and utility terrain vehicles.
  • Drivers operating a permitted ORV along a road or highway must hold at least a G2 or M2 driver’s licence, and their vehicle must be registered and insured.
  • Helmets, seat belts (where applicable) must be worn at all times, speed limits must be obeyed (generally, 20 km/h in a 50 km/h speed limit or less, and 50 km/h in posted areas over 50 km/h), insurance, plates, all the normal rules apply.
  • No drinking and driving! Impaired operation on an ATV/UTV carries the same penalties as if you were driving a car. 

The OPP is responsible for patrolling more than 99,000 kilometres of trails and waterways, and over 130,000 kilometres of roadway throughout Ontario.

Enjoy Ontario’s vast trail systems and have fun! But, lead by example – Drive safe, drive sober, and slow down! 

One thought on “ATV Fatalities On The Rise

  1. Motorcycles as well. I haven’t seen any mention of it in the news as of yet but a man was killed on a motorcycle this weekend in the area of Hwy 552 W and Island road in Goulais river.

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