Highways and Winter Roads

ATV Safety

In the Northwest Territories, “all-terrain vehicle” means a motorized vehicle that runs on wheels, tracks, skis, or air cushions, and is designed for cross-country travel on land, water, snow, ice, marsh, swamp, or on other natural terrain. That includes, but is not limited to, ATVs, snow vehicles, three-wheeled ATVs, and motorized pedal bicycles. “Special all-terrain vehicles” operate on three or four wheels.

Like any car, truck, or motorcycle, your ATV must be registered. You can register your ATV at your local issuing office. You don’t need a licence, but you must be 14 years of age to drive on the highway, and you must wear an ATV helmet at all times. The  Canadian Off-Highway Vehicle Distributors Council offers free safety and training information online.

Follow this list of safeguards before you go to ensure that you, your friends and family have a fun and safe time:

  1. Papers please. Check that your registration and insurance are up to date. Properly attach your licence plate and carry proof of your insurance. Make sure you’re up to date on the latest local regulations and bylaws regarding ATVs.
  2. Check it twice. Give your ATV a double-over before you take it out for the season’s first run. Ensure that all equipment, including brakes, lights, engine, and tires are in good condition and functioning properly.
  3. Use your head. Always wear an appropriate helmet and encourage your friends to do the same. Invest in a new one if it’s damaged by any dents or cracks.
  4. ATVs and alcohol don’t mix! ATVs are a motor vehicle that need all your skills and reflexes; don’t ride while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  5. Be prepared. Ensure that ALL your equipment is functioning properly. Pack an emergency kit (including any or all of the following: blanket, snacks/food, waterproof matches, a whistle, insect repellant and sunblock, a flashlight, spare fuel, tea or coffee, water/water purification tablets, duct tape, signal mirror, tool kit, first aid supplies, rope, flares, spare keys, a sharp knife, and/or compass) and tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to return. Dress appropriately for the weather and bush conditions. Consider taking a first aid course. It doesn’t hurt to be ready if something does go wrong.
  6. Size matters. Younger children are too small to control a large ATV. They can be seriously injured or even killed in ATV accidents. Adult-sized ATVs are powerful machines that should not be operated by anyone younger than sixteen. If you have a first-time rider, consider putting your child – or yourself – through an ATV safety course. And be sure not to overload your vehicle with items OR people.
  7. Ride with respect! Share the outdoors with other riders, campers, and hikers. Respect the land and its animals, so future generations can enjoy it.
  8. Have fun!

For more information, visit the links below: