Every year at this time, as the weather gets warmer, we hear more and more about accidents and insurance claims involving an ATV accident or All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) and off-road vehicles. A day out enjoying nature is always fun. Operating a motor vehicle without the proper insurance and equipment may lead to serious injuries, broken bones and sometimes worse.
Last year, more than half of all -road vehicle accidents in Ontario were cause by drug and alcohol impairment. Accidents are worse when riders who were injured when they were not wearing a helmet. Of the 22 riders who died in ATV accidents last year, nine were not wearing a helmet. (Ontario Provincial Police). On-road or off-road, there are laws and regulations in place to keep riders, their passengers and other trail users out of harm’s way.
What you can do to help avoid an ATV accident …
· Riders must wear an approved motorcycle helmet
· Riders must have at least a valid G2 or M2 driver’s licence to operate on-road and must have a valid driver’s licence (i.e. minimum G1) to directly cross a road.
· All ATVs must also be insured when operated off of the vehicle owner’s private property
· ATVs operating on-road must have the same insurance as a passenger car.
· It is against the law to drive an off-road vehicle when impaired by alcohol or drugs.
· If the ATV is permitted on-road, riders must operate on the shoulder of the road in the same direction as traffic. If the shoulder is unsafe or impassable or not wide enough, an ATV can be driven on the travelled portion of the road.
When it comes to insurance and ATVs, riders are often unclear of the rules. An ATV is considered a motorized vehicle. Insurance laws and compensation are available to ATV riders in the same way they are to other motorized vehicles. For that reason, all off-road vehicles must be insured by a valid insurance policy. Like a motor vehicle, purchasing insurance and opting for additional insurance
coverage is always a good idea. In the event of an accident, you and your family will be much better covered and cared for. In most cases a separate insurance policy is not even required and your off-road vehicle can be added to your existing car insurance policy. Ontario accident benefits can be accessed to cover you for things such as medical rehabilitation, home care, caregiving, income replacement and house keeping among other things.
If you or a loved one are injured in an ATV accident and are unclear as to your entitlement for compensation and coverage, call my office at (613) 978-9549.