Side-by-Sides and 2-Ups on Ontario Roads

Could It Be For Real This Time?

Update, June 8th, 2015: It's for real! The Ontario Government announced that as of July 1st, 2015 all Off-Road Vehicles will be allowed to use the roads. Click here to learn more.

Many of us ATVers were acutely interested in this legislation when it was brought forward last year, only to be let down at the altar by (then) Minister of Transportation Glen Murray when he refused to sign the legislation presented to him this spring.

It had already been through a rigorous process of approval by all relevant bodies before it was presented to him, but he claimed it was simply “too dangerous.” He ignored the fact that SxS machines, with their full roll cages, full seat belt systems, etc., are actually safer than ATVs or snowmobiles (which can already legally ride 2-up, and have been able to for many years; they are also far faster than ATVs, often riding on slick surfaces, with no such safety protection).

There have been some very promising developments recently that may push this issue through this time. Glen Murray is no longer the Minister of Transportation, and he has been replaced by Steven Del Duca, who was already fully in support of this issue when it was first brought down last fall. Leeds Grenville MPP Steven Clark has brought this forward just before recess to bring it back to the front burner before the recess, and is hopeful to get it approved when they return October 20. 

The Kawartha ATV Association's 2014 Yamaha Viking—ready to be put to work on the trails! 

As a director and webmaster of the Algonquin West ATV Club, I can tell you that many people, including our club, directors, and members have already opted for SxS equipment (they are particularly good for carrying everything you need for performing trail maintenance), turning them into lawbreakers when they encounter a road link between trailheads. And there are many more who are still riding old equipment as they wait for legislation to be changed to allow them to be legal, with even more simply holding off on purchasing any equipment at all, depriving themselves of the near endless riding opportunities in Ontario.

Other provinces, like Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and others (and some U.S. states) have already enacted such legislation, recognizing the significant boost to tourism this provides, particularly to many somewhat disadvantaged smaller towns in the province that need every tourism dollar they can get. The SxS legislation also allows 4 up SxS machines, an excellent way for larger families to ride together, and for others to work with, such as Hydro One, who have a bunch of 4-up machines already. 

Fenelon Falls 2up
The family that rides together... Good times at the 8th Annual Kawartha Lakes Community Living ATV Poker Run.

Truth is, this is the single most important issue there is to many of us in Ontario. If enacted, it will provide Ontario ATV Clubs with a significant membership increase, more dollars to put toward our trail systems, and importantly, will also provide families with the opportunity they need to enjoy riding safely in our province. We can only hope that this legislation, needed for so long, finally passes this time!  

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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