Update Nova Scotia's ATV/OHV Laws
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Rural Nova Scotia is tired of being behind the times when it comes to a lot of things, but especially when it comes to ATV Laws in this beautiful province. Essentially, our hope is to update Nova Scotia's OHV Act so that it coincides more with New Brunswick's laws, specifically as it pertains to driving along a roadway or on a secondary road. The following is a letter I have written and will attach to the emails that get sent to government, along with this (hopefully successful) petition.
Attn: Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal; Hon. Lloyd Hines
Minister of Natural Resources; Hon. Margaret Miller
I have addressed this letter to both of you, as I believe you both could be responsible for solutions to this issue.
I grew up in rural Nova Scotia, in a small community called Pinehurst which is just 20 kilometers’ northeast of Bridgewater. I grew up around ATV’s, mostly four-wheelers and snowmobiles. Now as an adult, most of my weekends still revolve around snowmobiling during the winter and going out on our side-by-side when there is no snow. I have had the pleasure of not only using ATV’s in our beautiful province, but also in New Brunswick and I am very sad to say that Nova Scotia seems to be behind the times with our ATV laws.
In New Brunswick, there are many laws stating that ATV’s are allowed to be so far (7.5 meters) away from the travelled portion of any roadway. They are also allowed to cross a roadway when it is safe to do so. In order to do these things, New Brunswick requires that an ATV has a front and rear light, a stop light, a left side rear view mirror, one side light or reflector, and turn signals if these were manufactured at factory. Most side-by-sides, four-wheelers, and snowmobiles in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have these requirements from factory, so it would not be a difficult law to enforce.
My family and I still spend a lot of time four-wheeling around the area I grew up. In this area, there are many trails that use the old railway tracks, which cross the road in many places or are broken up by new highway. Although you can usually see the beginning of the new trail head, we are still not permitted to travel along the roadway or cross the roadway (unless permitted by a sign or by a private ATV association). There have been increasing amounts of DNR and police personnel in these areas, waiting for ATV’s to come through and large fines being given for going trail head to trail head. This is my biggest issue.
In 2016, it was reported that the top cause of sports injuries Canada wide is in fact cycling, even more than ATV accidents. Cyclists are permitted on roadways in Nova Scotia, not only on the shoulder of the road but on the pavement itself, sharing the road with motor vehicles. Bicycles (in most cases) are not equipped with brake lights, turn signals, headlights, or anything of the like. So why are bicycles allowed on the roadway and ATV’s are not even allowed to travel along the roadway?
ATV’s could also create a lot of revenue for Nova Scotia. People from all over Canada travel to New Brunswick and even Cape Breton for the snowmobiling and four-wheeling. What if we could do the same for the South Shore and the Valley?
I think it is time for a change in this province. It is time to allow respectful ATV drivers to fully enjoy our beautiful trails across Nova Scotia. We should not have to be afraid to cross a road, drive 50 feet down the shoulder to the next trail, or go get gas at the local gas station for fear that someone is waiting there to give us a fine.
Is this issue on your radars at all? Can you please at least look at New Brunswick’s OHV Act and possibly take some sections into consideration?
Thank you for your time,
Jessica Joudrey, Port Medway, NS
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