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The Legality Of It All !!!

Please read important information below!

We at the BMA (Bytown Motorcycle Association) and OFTR (Ontario Federation Of Trail Riders) feel many riders are not always aware of the laws or rules for riding in Ontario! If you could pass this information along to members (and non-members), it could save them a lot of time and money. It may also help protect and keep riding areas like Limerick Forest and Calabogie open, as well as other forests in Ontario.

There has been a lot of (OPP) law enforcement in all forests in Ontario over the last 2-3 years, and tickets given to riders! The OPP have given out warning after warning. But now the tickets are starting to come, (tickets for license plate not on front of bike, speeding, on road without a driver's license or road plate! NO INSURANCE! which is needed on trails and roads). Some forests now require a permit (parts of the Calabogie area!) Others require a OFTR membership. Have a look at the rules below and make sure that YOU Are LEGAL! Always know the rules of the forest you are riding in! Check their web site: many are closed in Spring, some have restricted areas, some have events going on, some have no ride days YOU should know before you go!


Legalities of Dirt Biking in Ontario

In Ontario, the legislation governing off-road motorcycling is the Off-Road Vehicle Act. Copies of the Off-Road Vehicle Handbook are available for about $8 from the office where you buy your license plates. The Act governs off-road motorcycles, three and four wheel ATV's, and Odysseys.

The act is specific in that every vehicle must be registered if the vehicle is used anywhere other then the registered owner's property. Dirt bikes must carry a license plate. For off-road use, the license plate is the green one, it costs $35, and must be attached to the front of the vehicle. It does not require a renewal sticker each year.

At this time it is not necessary to have any kind of operators permit or motorcycle license endorsement to ride a bike or ATV off-road. To operate a motorcycle on the street, or on a dirt road, an "M" license or learners permit is mandatory.

The next requirement: insurance is mandatory to operate your vehicle anywhere other than your property. The basic insurance requirements are public liability and public damage. I wonder how many people realize the penalty for operating a vehicle without insurance is presently $5000. THIS IS NOT A MISPRINT. The fine is equal to the price of a new bike (ok a used one).

Some off-road or dual-sport motorcycles carry street plates (blue plates with renewal stickers) and are then automatically governed by the Highway Traffic Act. When possible a bike should be licensed in this manner as it opens doors to a lot of country that a rider with a strictly off-road plate cannot legally travel.

Keep your machine QUIET, 94dbs or less. If you would like to know how loud or quiet your bike is, the BMA has a sound meter and will gladly test it and advise you. All machines must have a spark arrester.

Thanks Larry Murray!

Current bikes: KTM 530EXC, BMW K1100RS

Favourite Riding Areas: Eastern Ontario-offers 1000s of kilometres of both single and two track riding, For all levels of riders beginner to expert it's all here, pine forest to rock riding and everything in between, along with one of the longest seasons, May to December (there are places that don't get much of a winter, but they can't ride in the summer because of the heat) so I do live in heaven!

Favourite event: The Corduroy Enduro! It teaches you to become a better rider and brings out the best you have to give.

Most memorable ride: I have hade so many great rides, any time you can get away for several days with a group of riding buddies (new and old) it will be a memorable ride! Nevada is my favourite winter riding area and I try to go every year, it's cheap - about $2000 all in. Plus its FUN! Always a great time.