As summer rapidly approaches and we continue to enjoy the rising temperatures, more and more people are taking the opportunity to get outside. ATV use is a very popular recreational activity for those outside of major cities in Ontario. Unfortunately, these vehicles can be very dangerous if they are involved in a crash or if the vehicle flips over.

According to the OPP, in 2017 there were 22 deaths involving off-road vehicles in Ontario. OPP has also reported that half of those who died were not wearing helmets.

In early May, a man died after being trapped under his ATV for several hours near Creemore, Ontario. It was also reported that a 12-year-old girl died of injuries after she rolled her ATV in Central Alberta last Sunday.

 It is strongly recommended that anyone operating an ATV exercise caution and common sense.

 WHAT IS AN ATV?

An All-Terrain Vehicle, often known as an ATV, is a type of off-road vehicle and is often defined by having the following characteristics:

  • 4 low-pressure bearing tires, all in contact with the ground;
  • steered by a handlebar;
  • seat designed to be straddled;
  • vehicle designed to carry a driver only and no passengers.

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DRIVE AN ATV IN ONTARIO?

Age

According to the Ontario Off-Road Vehicles Act, you must be 12-years-old or older to drive an off-road vehicle, except on land occupied by the vehicle owner or under the close supervision of an adult. Individuals between the ages of 12 and 15 are permitted to operate an ATV unsupervised only on public or private trails.

Individuals operating an ATV on approved provincial highways or municipal roadways must be at least 16-years-old and have a valid G2 license.

Registration

ATVs must be registered with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. This applies to both new and used vehicles.

You must be 16-years-old or older to register a vehicle and you must have proof that you own the vehicle. After you register the vehicle, you will be given a vehicle permit and licence plate. You are required to carry the vehicle permit at all times, unless operating the vehicle on land occupied by the owner of the vehicle. The licence plate should be attached to the front of the vehicle in plain view (for a 2 or 3 wheeled vehicle) or on the rear of the vehicle (for a 4 or more wheeled vehicle).

Insurance

Pursuant to the Off-Road Vehicles Act, if you are driving an ATV anywhere other than on the owner’s property, you must have vehicle liability insurance. You are required to carry the insurance card with you while driving the ATV. You may be requested to show your insurance card to a police officer. If another driver uses your ATV with your consent, you may both be responsible for any penalties, damages or injuries that occur as a result of the use of the vehicle.

Personal, universal and farm liability polices are not considered motor vehicle liability policies and these policies usually exclude “the operation of any vehicle subject to motor vehicle registration”, such as ATVs. These policies will offer no protection or defence against legal action should an accident arise. Therefore, it is imperative to verify insurance coverage with your insurance company prior to operating your ATV.

Helmets

According to the Highway Traffic Act and the Off-Road Vehicles Act, the driver and every passenger on an ATV must wear a helmet, unless operating the vehicle on the property of the vehicle’s owner. The helmet must meet all requirements approved for motorcycle helmets (certified by DOT, SNELL or other agencies that meet the standards) and must be fastened properly under the chin.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I’M INVOLVED IN AN ATV ACCIDENT?

If you are involved in an ATV accident and have suffered personal injuries there are a number of steps you should take as soon as possible.

  • If you have suffered injuries, you should seek immediate medical attention;
  • If you are traveling on an ATV trail, you should move your vehicle off the trail to avoid endangering other drivers;
  • You should remain on the scene and gather information including taking pictures, note the contact and insurance information if another ATV driver is involved; note the contact information and request a copy of the police report if the police become involved;
  • Inform your insurance company of the accident and proceed to file a claim; and
  • Keep detailed notes regarding how your life has been impacted by the injuries you have suffered as a result of the accident.

ATVS AND PERSONAL INJURIES

ATVs are operated similar to motorcycles in so far as the rider is most often seated above the engine. At lower speeds, ATVs are safer than motorcycles because of the stability provided by the four wheels. However, ATVs are designed to be used on off-road terrain and this can be just as dangerous as driving any vehicle at higher speeds. The biggest danger facing ATV use is the possibility of a rollover.

Some of the most common personal injuries suffered by those involved in an ATV accident include:

  • fractures;
  • traumatic brain injuries (TBI);
  • spinal cord injuries;
  • crush injuries;
  • burn injuries; and
  • whiplash.

If you or a loved one have suffered personal injuries as a result of an ATV accident and believe a third party is responsible, please contact the experienced lawyers at Jasmine Daya & Co. online or call 416-967-9100. We can provide the skilled legal support you need to receive the compensation you deserve. New clients can meet with a member of our team for a free consultation to learn about their legal options.