Off-road vehicles (ORVs) are year-round utility and recreational vehicles that must be:

  • registered
  • display a licence plate (except in exempted areas like in far northern Ontario)
  • insured under a motor vehicle liability policy

When riding on-road or off-road the driver of an ORV must carry and produce the registration permit or a true copy and proof of insurance for the ORV.

Where you can ride

On-road riding

ORVs that are permitted to travel on certain roads and highways include:

  • single rider all-terrain vehicles (ATV)
  • two-up all-terrain vehicles (ATV)
  • utility terrain vehicles (UTV)
  • recreational off highway vehicles (ROV)
  • extreme-terrain vehicles (XTV)
  • off-road motorcycles (ORM)

Provincial highways

ORVs permitted on provincial highways can travel on:

  • Highways 500 to 899
  • many 7000-series highways
  • highways with low traffic volumes

You cannot drive ORVs on:

  • 400-series highways
  • the Queen Elizabeth Way
  • sections of the Trans-Canada Highway

Review Ontario Regulation 316/03 for a complete list of provincial highways where on-road ORVs are permitted as well as prohibited.

Municipal roads

Municipalities have different rules for ORVs, and not all municipalities allow them on roads.

Before driving an ORV on a municipal road:

  • check if the municipality has bylaws in place that allows ORVs on the road
  • if there is no bylaw for that municipality, check whether it is listed under Ontario Regulation 8/03. You can drive a permitted ORV on the roads of municipalities listed.

You cannot drive ORVs where there is no bylaw in place and the municipality is not listed under Ontario Regulation 8/03.

Along a road

When travelling along a road, your ORV must:

  • be driven in the same direction as traffic
  • travel on the shoulder (if the shoulder is unsafe or not wide enough, an ORV can be driven on the travelled portion of the road)
  • have headlights and tail lights on (mandatory at night and in bad weather)

Crossing a highway

Where permitted, you can drive an ORV to cross a highway only if:

  • it is registered and displays a rear licence plate
  • it is insured under a motor vehicle liability policy
  • the driver is at least 16 years old and has a valid driver's licence of any class
  • the driver and passengers are wearing approved motorcycle helmets, securely fastened under the chin with a chin strap

Off-road riding

When driving your ORV on trails, private property or Crown land (government-owned land), ride in designated areas only. You may require a trail permit and must always have the land owner’s permission.

Speed limits

On roads, ORVs must travel at speeds less than the posted speed limit for cars and trucks:

Posted speed limit for cars and trucksMaximum speed limit for ORVs
Roads where the speed limit is over 50 km/h50 km/h
Roads where the speed limit is 50 km/h or less20 km/h

Municipalities can set lower speed limits or have additional guidelines.

Who can ride

When riding on-road or off-road, drivers and passengers must wear an approved motorcycle helmet, securely fastened under the chin with a chin strap.


For on-road riding, a driver must:

  • be at least 16 years old
  • hold at least a valid G2 or M2 licence
  • wear a seat belt, where provided
  • travel at speeds less than the posted speed limit

For off-road riding, the driver must:

  • be at least 12 years old, unless directly supervised by an adult or while driving on land occupied by the owner of the ORV
  • carry the ORV's registration permit or a true copy


For on-road riding, a passenger on an ORV:

  • must be at least 8 years old
  • must wear a seat belt or use foot rests, when applicable

Passengers are not permitted on off-road motorcycles (ORMs).

There are no restrictions for passengers when off-road.

Safety tips

Follow these tips to stay safe when riding an ORV:

Before a trip

  • get proper training by taking an ORV safety course
  • know your ORV and read its operator's manual
  • do a pre-ride inspection and check:
    • oil
    • gas and other fluid levels
    • lights
    • brakes
    • tire pressure
  • let someone know where you're going and when you expect to return
  • check with your local municipality to see if they have a bylaw permitting you to ride on roads

When you are riding

  • always ride according to the trail, road and weather conditions
  • use extreme caution when turning, crossing, climbing and descending hills
  • drive sober — it's illegal to drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs
  • ride in designated areas only
  • respect the environment and keep noise levels low