Here are some of the primary rules for operating an off-highway vehicle (OHV) in Alberta. For more, check out Part 6 of the Traffic Safety Act and the Off-Highway Vehicle Regulation.

WHAT IS AN OHV?

According to Alberta's Traffic Safety Act, "off-highway vehicle" means any motorized mode of transportation built for cross-country travel on land, water, snow, ice, marsh or swampland, or any other natural terrain. OHVs include:

  • 4-wheel drive vehicles
  • low pressure tire vehicles
  • motor cycles and related 2-wheel vehicles
  • amphibious machines
  • all terrain vehicles (ATVs)
  • miniature motor vehicles
  • snow vehicles (e.g. snowmobilies)
  • minibikes

MINIMUM AGE

Riders under the age of 14 may not drive an OHV on public land unless the rider is supervised by someone who is 18 years old or older. The supervisor must be either in the passenger seat of the OHV or on a vehicle travelling in close proximity to the youth's OHV.

REGISTRATION AND INSURANCE

When using an OHV on public land, the OHV must be registered and insured, and the rider must be able to produce proof of registration and insurance.

HELMETS

OHV drivers and passengers are required to wear a helmet, except for:

  • on First Nations or Metis Settlement land
  • on land owned by the rider or owned by a person who has given consent for OHV use on their land
  • people using an OHV for farming or ranching work where the person is not required under the Occupational Health and Safety Act to wear a helmet during that work

CARE & ATTENTION

OHV riders must drive with due care and attention on any land, whether publicly or privately owned, that the public is entitled or permitted to use. The penalty for driving carelessly is $543 and possible seizure of the OHV.

And remember that OHV users can be charged with impaired driving under the Criminal Code of Canada.

HIGHWAYS

OHVs may not be driven on a highway unless a permit, order, or bylaw permits it. When being operated on a highway, the OHV and driver must follow all rules of the road that other vehicles are subject to.

OHVs may not be driven on a boulevard or median of a divided highway.

When crossing a highway, the driver must stop the OHV and all passengers must get off before the driver can drive across the highway. The driver must not proceed across the highway until it is safe to do so and must follow all traffic signs and signals. The OHV must yield the right of way to all other vehicles and pedestrians.

REPORT COLLISIONS

If you're involved in a collision while driving an OHV, you must report the collision to local enforcement.

CHECK BYLAWS

Make sure to check the bylaws of the municipality in which you plan to use your OHV. There may be bylaws that restrict where OHVs can and cannot be used, speed limits, etc.