Sharing the Road

Changes To ATV Laws in Sudbury and North Bay Could Allow Road Access

Update: Click here to read about the July 8th 2015 update to Ontario law allowing all Off-Road Vehicles road access!

The ongoing struggle to allow ATVs on the road in Sudbury and North Bay is heating up, and it appears there may be some success in the offing. Sudbury will conduct a full city council vote in the next two weeks to permit ATVing on about half of the town rural roads and residential streets, all outside the downtown area, which is totally understandable in larger cities. This will be for a two-year trial period.

There are however, some interesting caveats up for discussion, including three season riding only. This would still prevent people with snowplows on their ATVs from legally snowplowing their own driveway if they need to enter the street even a little to do it, and many with ATV snowplows like to do other people’s driveways in their neighbourhood for friends, elderly neighbours and the like. The claim is they will continually re-evaluate this annually, and adjust as needed. I personally believe this one should be accommodated, particularly in residential areas away from the downtown core, as this one applies to a surprising number of us.

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North Bay is also in the throes of the same discussion, albeit with different caveats, including not being able to ride at night, which I find to be a bit shortsighted, considering that for significant portions of the year it gets dark well before 6 pm. Most ATVs have significantly better lighting systems than some motorcycles do. I for one have been out riding more than a few times, got stuck, or a bit lost, and ended up riding home on the road after dark. However, we live in Almaguin, where we enjoy year round road access with no restrictions other than we cannot ride on the four-lane, divided Highway 11, and even that, we get a tunnel under it for snowmobiles, ATVs and pedestrians to cross the highway, and plenty of bridges to cross as well.

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The North Bay council meeting is scheduled for 7 pm Monday, September 8 and it appears there will be a significant turnout. Nelson Fletcher, the president of the North Bay ATV Club, notes that people fishing on Lake Nippissing in North Bay are unable to access food, fuel, or accommodations without loading up onto their trailer to even cross the road, and this gives their southern neighbour, Callander, a significant advantage over North Bay because they do not have the restrictions in place so ATVers can ride to their fishing spot, it’s not hard to guess which place people will choose given the options.

Here is a map of North Bay that indicates the areas that are proposed to have ATV access.

North Bay map

If you're in the North Bay area and are interested in this issue, click here to learn more about the September 8 Council Meeting.

Best of luck to ATVers in both North Bay and Sudbury!

About Adam Columbus

Adam is the former webmaster for the Algonquin West ATV club webmasters. He lives north of Huntsville, Ontario with his family. He is also an ex-business owner from the GTA who is now semi-retired.

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