Driving Off-Road Vehicles Rules in Nova Scotia

It’s hard to imagine a better destination for off-roading than Nova Scotia, but the risk associated with this wildly popular pastime is very real, which makes staying safe out there paramount. The Province of Nova Scotia takes traffic safety exceptionally seriously, and in 2007, it implemented more exacting rules and regulations in relation to off-roading. If someone else’s negligence leaves you injured in an off-road accident, it’s time to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Nova Scotia.

Off-Highway Vehicle Regulations

Nova Scotia revamped its regulations in support of everyone’s safety, and some of the primary concerns include:

  • Off-highway vehicles include snowmobiles, ATVs, off-road motorcycles, minibikes, dirt bikes, 4WD vehicles, and dune buggies.
  • Your off-road vehicle must have a muffler that’s at least as quiet as the original install.
  • Every OHV owner must carry at least $500,000 in liability insurance on every vehicle in order to operate the OHV on property that is not their own.
  • All off-road vehicles must have fully functioning brakes, parking brakes, and parking mechanisms.
  • All off-road vehicles must have off-road vehicle registration in nova scotia and must bear front and rear licence plates.

Is a Side-by-Side Considered an Off-Road Vehicle?

In 2021, the Government of Canada issued an update to include a new classification of restricted-use vehicles that includes side-by-side utility vehicles, which are also called utility terrain vehicles or UTVs. This class of vehicles includes dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). This category of vehicle can be deceiving because they’re commonly equipped with on-road features – to the degree that they can potentially be classified as on-road vehicles – and when this is the case, they must comply with all Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

Requirements for Off-Road Vehicle Drivers

The legal requirements in order to go off-roading in Nova Scotia include the following:

  • You must be at least 16 years old.
  • You must have a valid licence to do so.
  • You must actively follow Nova Scotia’s rules of the road.
  • You must wear a well-fitting and secured safety helmet at all times.

Nova Scotia Off-Highway Vehicles Act

The Nova Scotia Off-Highway Vehicles Act sets the rules and regulations for off-road vehicles, and its focus is safety – especially for drivers under the age of 16. These young operators – along with their accompanying parents or guardians – must successfully complete off-highway vehicle training prior to hitting the paths.

Off-Road Safety

While off-roading is incredibly exhilarating, it can also be exceptionally dangerous, which makes taking safety precautions every time you ride essential. Consider the following:

  • By taking a safety training course, you can confidently hit the trails knowing that you are armed with the skills and information necessary to off-road safely.
  • Conduct a pre-ride inspection of your ATV every time you head out. For example, check the rims for damage, the tires for wear, and the cables for solid connections – and give your controls a peek.
  • Always ride on marked trails except when it’s necessary to travel across a roadway, which should be done with utmost care.
  • Follow all the rules of the road or trail you’re riding on, including paying attention to all posted signs and warnings.
  • Respect the rights and safety of other drivers at all times.
  • Always don the safety gear you need – including a safety helmet, eye protection, and gloves – in order to protect yourself to the degree possible in an accident. Remember that a helmet is always a requirement – even on side-by-sides.
  • Never ride while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is not only an extremely dangerous practice but is also a criminal offence.
  • Before heading out on the trails, tell someone where you’re going, what time you’ll be leaving, and what time you should be back. Riding with others is always the safest practice.
  • Carry a first aid kit, an overnight bag, and a tow rope with you at all times. Erring on the side of caution is the best policy.

It’s important to keep in mind, however, that even if you do everything right, there’s no guarantee that the other drivers with whom you share the track are holding up their end of the bargain. The fact is that accidents involving off-road vehicles are often caused by the negligence of other drivers.

Driver Negligence

Off-roading is a form of recreation that many find exhilarating, but this does not mitigate the fact that when a motorist hops on an off-road vehicle, they accept immense responsibility. Any of the following forms of negligence can lead to life-threatening off-road accidents:

  • Excess Speed – A safe speed must be determined in relation to a wide range of present conditions.
  • Impairment – Operating a vehicle of any kind while impaired by alcohol or drugs is a deadly practice.
  • Distraction – Off-roading is a unique driving experience in which you must be especially attuned to the track you’re on, which leaves absolutely no room for distractions.
  • Aggression – Motorists who take their aggressions out while off-roading put everyone in their midst in increased danger.

Your Losses

If you’ve been injured by another driver’s negligence, the losses you experience can be considerable, and without the compensation to which you’re entitled, reaching your fullest recovery will be that much more difficult. Consider the following common forms of loss:

  • Property damage to your off-road vehicle
  • Your medical costs, which may not have an end in sight
  • Your lost income, which may include a loss of earning potential
  • Your physical and emotional pain and suffering, which can exacerbate the effects of your other losses

Turn to an Experienced Nova Scotia Off-Road Vehicle Accident Lawyer for the Help You Need

The practiced Nova Scotia off-road vehicle accident lawyers at Wagners have an impressive track record, reaching back more than 40 years, of helping clients like you resolve their claims favourably. Your claim is important, and we’re here to help – so please don’t delay contacting or calling us at 902-425-7330 for more information today.

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