Are You New to the Sport of ATVing?
Without a doubt, ATVing in Ontario is a confusing recreation. Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act leaves it up to the municipalities to establish where and when an ATV can be operated. In other words, each Township must pass a by-law before ATVs are allowed to use the roads. Melancthon Township, near Shelburne, has allowed ATVs access to the roads. As well, the Township of Chatsworth, Municipality of Grey Highlands, Township of Southgate and the Municipality of West Grey have ATV by-laws allowing some form of road access. However, to be absolutely sure, off-trail riders should check the by-laws of the area in which they are going to ride. With the internet these days, this research is fairly easily done. (See Other Links.)
Dufferin Grey ATV Club’s (DGATV) mandate is to bring safe recreational family-oriented ATV riding to the counties of Dufferin and Grey with a view to benefiting both riders and our local communities. DGATV promotes environmental awareness, protecting the natural resources that we all want to enjoy, and promotes tourism, providing our riders with places of interest to visit and our communities with the economic benefits that result. Our club is responsible for organizing social riding events, lobbying for ATV access within local municipalities, building and maintaining trails, and educating riders about safety, environmental consideration and trail etiquette.
A few things to remember:
- Ride with a friend just in case you get in to trouble
- Let someone know where you are going
- Wear a Department of Transportation (DOT) approved helmet and appropriate clothing
- Know where you are and how to contact help — in rural areas you are not always in cell phone range
ATVing is an inherently risky venture. You will be crossing roads and rough terrain so be careful. ATVs are not toys.
Don’t ride with a passenger until you get a feel for the 2-up bike. Be safe and enjoy!
Oh, and if you want someone to ride with checkout DGATV’s facebook group. Simply search “Dufferin Grey ATV Club (Group)” in facebook and ask to join.
What Do I Wear?
Your helmet is mandatory and must be approved by the Department of Transportation (DOT). If your helmet is old or has ever been dropped, then it is time for a new one.
A full helmet or dust mask is more comfortable when the weather is hot and dusty, especially along the rail trail.
Other recommended equipment includes googles, gloves, and boots.
As for “appropriate” clothing, well, that depends on the weather and the route. Some people wear running shoes, shorts and a T-shirt but for the most part that attire is unsuitable.
Dress to protect yourself from branches, stones, dust, bugs, wind, sun, rain; from just simply being outdoors.
Dress comfortably because you will likely be straddling a bike for hours.
Dress in layers for the weather and the terrain — add a few items when you’re cold or its raining, take off a few when you’re hot.
Riding an ATV in single digit temperatures becomes extremely cold, similar to riding a snowmobile. Dress accordingly.
Also it is good to have extra fuel, drinking water, snack, rain gear, bug spray, basic repair tools, band-aids, compass, map and cell phone on hand. Note that there may not be cell service in all areas.
ATVing is a lot of fun. You get to go to places that you have never been before, travelling through some very beautiful areas. Enjoy your time in the great outdoors. Stay safe and have a good ride!