I WANNA RIDE!
STEP 1: INSURANCE
Insurance is mandatory to operate your vehicle anywhere other than your property. In order to register your bike you will be required to show proof of insurance. The basic insurance requirements are PL & PD, and costs will vary significantly from company to company. Some insurance companies will not even provide it. Many agents want you to bring all your other insurance to them as well. We have two insurance sponsors that will offer Off Road Motorcycle Insurance without demanding your other business
State Farm and Wiesner Insurance are both familiar with off-road vehicles and the OFTR:
Nicole McCann Insurance Agency
State Farm Insurance
17817 Leslie St., Unit 26
Newmarket, ONL3Y 8C6
57 MILL STREET NORTH, SUITE 103
BRAMPTON, ONTARIO, L6X 1S9Tel: (905) 451 4205 or (416) 498 6101
Toll-Free:1 (800) 408 2877 Fax: (905) 451 9604
Sean Wiesner (Vice-President) Ext. 27
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. An exception to the license plate and insurance rule is, if the owner belongs to an organization and engages in sanctioned, closed course competition (motocross, hare scrambles, trials etc.). However, this doesn't allow the owner to use the vehicle anywhere other than that sanctioned event or his private property.
STEP 2: LICENSE/REGISTRATION
In Ontario we have a set of laws called the Off-Road Vehicle Act. This act or law governs off-road motorcycles, three and four wheel ATV's, Odysseys and dune buggies. Powered wheelchairs are exempt but might not be if they are powered by a performance two-stroke engine and equipped with knobby tires.
The act is specific in that every vehicle must be registered. If the vehicle is used anywhere other then the registered owner's property, it must carry a license plate.
TRAIL LEGAL ONLY: The license plate is the green one, costs $35, attaches to the front of the vehicle and doesn't require a renewal sticker each year.
STREET/TRAIL LEGAL: Some off-road or dual-sport motorcycles carry street plates 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 couldn't legally encounter.
If you have ever been to an enduro competition you will have seen street plates on a lot of questionable bikes, and may have wondered how this was possible. It is a grey area which some riders and dealers are willing to take advantage of. It requires a bike to be upgraded to receive a "Safety Certificate" and requires such things as lights, brake lights, mirror, horn etc.
Contrary to popular belief knobby tires are not necessarily illegal for road use. Most tires companies offer a line of knobby tires with a DOT number. These tires are identical to tires, which bear the words "Not for Highway Use" but can be considered street legal.
At this time it isn't necessary to have any kind of operators permit or license to ride a bike or ATV off-road. To operate a motorcycle on the street, or a dirt road, an "M" license or learners permit is mandatory.
STEP 3: WHERE CAN YOU RIDE?
Once you have insurance and a plate, you can ride anywhere in Ontario on crown land including snowmobile and ATV trails (except private property).The OFTR website has a link to the Ontario Trails Council which list some of trails.OFTR is currently working on creating a more extensive listwhich will include maps and GPS coordinates in the future.
SIMCOE COUNTY – In the fall of 2005, there was a proposed ban of off-road motorcycles in SimcoeCounty forests.The main reasons were noise and irresponsible riders.The OFTR joined the Simcoe County Forest Advisory Committee (SCFAC) and negotiated access for off-road motorcycles under the Simcoe County Forest Recreation Policy.A local club was formed (SCORRA) and the OFTR has funded signage, patrol supplies and third party liability insurance naming the County as additional insured.
SimcoeCounty is the first riding area in Ontario where OFTR membership is a requirement by law. Members are identified by the OFTR sticker and membership card.
OFTR members appreciate the hard work and stewardship that SCORRA has put into preserving SimcoeCounty trails.
Ontario Trail Ride Series – There are 15 trail riding events held each year as a part of the Ontario Trail Ride Series.These events are a great way to meet other riders and experience the trails each region has to offer.All skill levels are encouraged and accommodated.Click here for the series schedule.