Let Us Help You

Emergency: [9-1-1]  Deaf (TTY): 613-966-3788

ATV Safety

Rules of the Road ? Know Where to Ride

Thirty four police officers in the Belleville Police Service have received the Canadian Safety Council ATV Operator Course and the Service has two All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) to conduct targeted in the city and rural areas of Belleville. The following information is designed to assist ATV owners in understanding what the rules are and how to ride safely.


The all-terrain vehicle (ATV), also known as three and four-wheelers, was initially developed in Japan as a farm-to-town vehicle in isolated, mountainous areas. During spring thaws and rainy seasons steep mountainous roads were often impassable with conventional vehicles. The three-wheeled ATV proved to be a much better mode of travel and soon became a recreational vehicle, providing transportation to areas inaccessible by other motorized transport. And, it wasn't long before the Japanese manufacturers realized that the ATV could be sold to North Americans.

When the ATV first appeared in North America in the early 1970's, it was promoted and sold as a recreational vehicle designed to provide "thrills" for the rider. This is still its primary use today. Shortly, however, sportsmen found that the ATV was a useful machine to move through areas not accessible with pick-up trucks, four-wheel drives, or other motorized vehicles. The ATV became popular as a hunting vehicle and was used to reach remote areas and to transport game back out.

ATVs are the fastest growing recreational vehicles on the market.

Where to Ride

ATVs can only be legally driven in the City of Belleville on two occasions: (1) on private property with prior consent of the property owner, and (2) on crown land. The Heritage Trail (Eastern Ontario Trail Alliance ? EOTA) is the only legally designated trail in the City of Belleville.

You are not allowed to ride ATVs on any public road or road allowance unless the municipality has passed a consenting bylaw. To date, no such bylaw has been passed.
ATVs can cross public road or road allowance at a 90-degree angle.

Police will charge individuals who persist in trespassing.

Police can charge riders driving on highways and rights-of-way under the Highway Traffic Act, Section IV Reg. 316/03.

Note: A Trail pass is required to legally drive on the Heritage Trail. This pass can be purchased at various locations in the Quinte area.

Rules of the Road

?    Children less than twelve years of age are not permitted to drive an ATV except on land occupied by the vehicle owner or under close supervision of an adult.
?    Never allow a passenger on your ATV. A passenger can disrupt the vehicle's balance and cause injury.
?    You must have a valid permit for your ATV and a number plate displayed on the vehicle.
?    You must have insurance on your ATV because it is a motorized vehicle. You must be able to show the insurance to a police officer, if requested.
?    If you lend your ATV to another person, you are liable for any damages or injuries if an accident should occur.
?    Under the Highway Traffic Act, you must wear an approved safety helmet securely strapped under the chin.
?    The owner or occupier of the property may stop any person riding an ATV and you must identify yourself with your name and address. A police officer may also stop any person riding an ATV.


Anyone caught operating on a roadway is subject to charges of unlawful driving ORV on a highway, and will receive a $110.00 fine.


There were 17 related reported incidents involving ATVs in the City of Belleville. These incidents involved either being stolen and/or recovered or were traffic related. Officers laid various violations such as failing to wear helmets, not having valid permits and trespassing related violations.

Links of Interest

Canada Safety Council
Ontario Federation of All Terrain Vehicle Clubs