OPP points to an increase in deaths in a report on ATV Safety Week


Off-road vehicle drivers are urged to wear a properly fitting off-road vehicle helmet

Ontario Provincial Police
The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are reporting a significant increase in the number of off-road vehicle deaths across Ontario so far in 2024, with more than half of those found without helmets.

This year, nine people (eight riders, one passenger) have died in ATV crashes investigated by the OPP, compared to three riders and one passenger during the same period last year. With a third of this year's deaths related to alcohol and/or drugs, the data is a reminder that some ATV riders ignore the significant risks these (and other poor riding habits) pose.

ATV Safety Awareness Week is May 31 to June 9. 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 all-terrain vehicle helmet every time they ride. ATV enthusiasts are also reminded to always ride sober/drug-free and to slow down, and inexperienced riders are urged to take an ATV riding course.

In 2015, the provincial government legalized Side by Sides (SxS) and 2-Up ATVs. This applies to all 2-Ups (from manufacturer), all UTVs and SxSs. While the decision is still up to the local municipality, the Ontario government has given the green light for SxSs and UTVs to receive the same privileges that apply to ATVs.

It is important to clarify that this designation simply changes the definition of an ATV to include UTV and SxS devices. It does not replace any municipal regulations that may apply. If you were previously allowed to ride an ATV on the shoulder of the road in your area, you can now ride an SxS in the same manner with one or more passengers. ATVs that can carry a passenger are also legal, provided the passenger seat and footrests are installed by the manufacturer.

Quick facts:

  • Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) is a broad term that can include both single-seater and two-seater ATVs and side-by-side off-road vehicles.
  • Drivers operating a registered off-road vehicle on a road or highway must hold at least a class G2 or M2 driving license and their vehicle must be registered and insured.
  • Helmets and seat belts (where fitted) must be worn at all times, speed limits must be observed (generally 20 km/h where the speed limit is 50 km/h or less, and 50 km/h in designated areas for over 50 km/h), insurance, license plates – all the normal rules apply.
  • No drinking and driving! Driving under the influence of alcohol while driving an ATV/UTV carries the same penalties as driving a car.

The OPP is responsible for policing over 99,000 kilometres of hiking and waterway trails and over 130,000 kilometres of roads across Ontario.

Enjoy Ontario's extensive trails and have fun! But set a good example – drive safely, drive sober and drive slowly!