Are ATVs Street Legal in Ontario? (ATV + UTV Law To Know!)

Are ATVs Street Legal in ontario

Have you ever wondered if ATVs are Street legal in Ontario, Canada? Well, look no further as we have all the answers you need. Even for questions you maybe are not aware you should be asking.

Per provincial regulations of Ontario, ATVs are allowed on many highways. But for traveling on streets it is the local municipality’s regulations that apply, and streets have to be specifically permitted and posted for use.

In any case, to be allowed on any road, the ATV must be registered and with license plates. So, let’s get into more details about how and where you are allowed to ride an ATV in Ontario, Canada.

Are ATVs Street legal in Ontario?

If by street-legality you mean allowed at any road or street at any time, then ATVs are not street legal in Ontario. But, the reality is different, as you are allowed to ride them on many roads and streets.

Of the provincial roads, the King’s Highway, routes numbered 2 to 148 are not allowed for ATVs. The routes numbered 400 to 499 are also prohibited. Full list of these roads you can find here.

Highways numbered 500 to 899 are mostly permitted, with some exemptions, and the routes numbered 7000 and above are mostly. The full list you can find here.

On these highways, it is allowed for ATVs to be driven on the shoulder of the road. Except if the road doesn’t have it, and then they are allowed on the paved portion, but not on the median.

Concerning all the municipal streets and roads, you will have to inform yourself by the local authorities. Local governments have a right to enact bylaws that allow ATVs on the streets in their jurisdiction. In absence of them, all streets and roads are not permitted for ATVs.

Whether riding on provincial or local roads, the ATV must be registered, with license plates, insured under a motor vehicle liability policy, and possess a driver’s license of any class. For ATVs, different speed limits apply too.

On roads with the posted limit of 50km/h (31mph), the speed limit for ATVs is  20km/h (12.4mph), and 50km/h where posted is higher.

Read also: Are ATVs Street Legal In Canada (Laws, Regulations + More)

Can I ride an ATV on public lands in Ontario?

The public lands also called Crown lands in Canada, are not completely open for ATV use. Riding all-terrain vehicles is allowed only in the designated areas and trails.

In Ontario there are many ATV and off-roading trails, some are very short, just two miles. But some are as many as 200 miles of rugged trails you can explore over several days.

Listing all of them here would require too much space, but for a full list, you can visit this page. Riding on most of these trails requires that you purchase a trail permit from the Ontario Federation of ATV Clubs which maintains them.

You can purchase them online, and they cost C$150 ($116.86), and are valid for one year.

Can I ride an ATV on private lands in Ontario?

If you are riding on private property, there are practically no limitations. The ATV has to be registered, and that’s practically that. But, if the private land is a maintained commercial ATV trail or off-road facility, the same rules and regulations apply as in the case of the public roads.

The ATV must be registered, insured, and display a license plate; you need to have a driver’s license and helmet. Also, the lower speed limits for ATVs are enforced.

Another area where the ATV registration regulations are not enforced, besides the private properties, are the northern unrecognized territories.

Complete list of them you can find here. But, in these areas it is still illegal to ride an ATV if you are younger than 16, do not have any class of driver’s license, and carry more passengers than the vehicle has seats.

Do I have to register or title an ATV in Ontario?

All ATVs in Ontario must be registered. And it has to be done no more than six days after purchase. Licensing and acquiring the license plates is done through the Ministry of Transportation’s local Driver and Vehicle License Issuing Office.

Both the initial registration fee and renewal fee are C$38 ($29.60), and the registration is valid for a year.

Read also: Are ATVs Street Legal in Alberta? (Laws To Know!)

Do I need a driver’s license to operate an ATV in Ontario?

Yes, if you are 16 or older you need to have any class of driver’s license to be allowed to operate an ATV on public streets and roads in Ontario.

On public lands and trails designated for off-road use, the minimum age for unsupervised riding is 12 years, while younger can ride only with the supervision of an adult.

Younger than 12 riders are also allowed to ride unsupervised on a private property owned or leased by the owner of the vehicle they are riding.

Besides the age limits for operators, people younger than 8 years are not allowed to be passengers on ATVs that travel on the roads and highways. But, for off-roading, there are no age limits for passengers.

Are helmets mandatory in Ontario?

Helmets are mandatory for both riders and passengers when operating an ATV on public roads and public lands. The only exception is private properties.

Besides a helmet, the vehicle must also have certain other safety gear:

  • brakes,
  • white front and red back lamps,
  • reflective panels on both sides.


If you had a question are ATVs Street legal in Ontario, Canada; this should be all the information you need about it.

They are allowed on many provincial roads, and an extensive network of public ATV trails exists in Ontario.

Local municipalities have the right to enact bylaws that allow these vehicles on streets and roads under their jurisdiction.



Jeff is an automotive technician, technical writer, and Managing Editor. He has held a lifelong passion for cars, with a particular interest in cars like the Buick Reatta. Jeff has been creating written and video content about transportation, automotive, electric cars, future vehicles as well as new, used for more than 18 years. Jeff is based in Boulder, Colorado.

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