Use of Off-Highway Vehicles within Big Lakes County
Using Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV) for recreational purposes can be a lot of fun, but does have the potential for personal injury, or even death. This is why the Big Lakes County is working to educate users about provincial acts and municipal bylaws relating to proper OHV operation as well as safety precautions to consider.
Out of respect for other’s property, all OHV operators must obtain permission from the property owner before traveling on private property. OHV use on private property can damage crops, fences and other items which people may have invested personal time and money; it is trespassing and against the law.
The Traffic Safety Act and the General Traffic Bylaw govern the rules and regulations that must be followed for an OHV to be operated on public property and the roads and streets within Big Lakes County.
The requirements in the Traffic Safety Act apply to all roads and public property within Alberta.
Definition according to: Traffic Safety Act
117(a): “off-highway vehicle” means any motorized mode of transportation built for cross-country travel on land, water, snow, ice or marsh or swamp land or on other natural terrain and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes, when specifically designed for such travel,
(i) 4-wheel drive vehicles
(ii) low pressure tire vehicles
(iii) motorcycles and related 2-wheel vehicles
(iv) amphibious vehicles
(v) all-terrain vehicles
(vi) miniature motor vehicles
(vii) snow vehicles
(viii) minibikes, and
(ix) any other means of transportation that is propelled by any power other than muscular power or wind (but does not include motor boats
Crossing a Highway: An OHV may be driven across a highway, including the roadway, parking lane or sidewalk portion of the highway, if the following occurs:
Operator’s Licence: On Private Land & Off-Highway -The operator is not required to have an operator’s licence. On-Highway - The operator is required to have an operator’s licence when operating on-highway; any class of licence may be used from 1 through 7. No licence is required if just crossing a highway.
Minimum Driving Age: The minimum age for operating OHV on public land or highways is 14 years where permitted. If the operator is younger than 14 years, he/she may operate on public land with supervision by someone 18 years of age or older who is either on the same off-highway vehicle or in close proximity. If operating on private property, no age restriction applies.
Registration: OHV must be registered before operating on Alberta’s roads. This applies only to public land and highways. No registration required if on private property.
Insurance: OHV must be insured for operation on public land or highways. No insurance required if on private property.
Vehicle Equipment: OHV must be equipped with the following: a headlamp, tail lamp, and a muffler. Anything that is being towed must have a tow bar.
Within Big Lakes County, the General Traffic Bylaw permits OHV to be operated on county roads provided that:
In a Hamlet
The maximum speed limit while riding in a Hamlet is 30 km/h.
Operation of OHV is between 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.
On County Range Roads & Township Roads
The maximum speed limit while riding on a road surface or ditch is 50 km/h.
At All Times
PROHIBITED OPERATIONS OF OFF HIGHWAY VEHICLES
OHV are prohibited from operating on any Provincial Highway. The definition of a 'Highway' also includes the ditch.
OHV are prohibited from operating anywhere except for private property if the conditions set out in the Traffic Safety Act and the General Traffic Bylaw are not met.
Miniature Vehicles and Minibikes may not be operated on any Highway in Alberta; they may only be operated on private property. These vehicles are motor vehicles as defined in the Traffic Safety Act; however, they also meet the definition of “miniature vehicles” which are not permitted on a highway in Alberta, including sidewalks alongside the roadway.
OHV Safety Tips
While some safety guidelines may be required by law, good riding means planning, safety and following guidelines like these:
For more information feel free to contact Big Lakes County or your local RCMP Detachment.