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Off-road vehicles have a broad definition and include a wide range of vehicles used for both work and leisure, including:
ORVs are designed to be off-highway vehicles and to be operated in rugged environments such as non-public roads, and paths. While other vehicles such as jeeps, trucks, SUVs and other on-highway motor vehicles may be used off-road, the focus of this document is vehicles designed primarily for off-road use.
For example, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are specialized motorized equipment that are usually four wheeled, open vehicles, with oversized, deep tread, and low-pressure or non-pneumatic tires. The operator sits on a saddle-like seat and steers with handlebars. ATVs can reach speeds of 100 km or more, and weigh around 360 kg (approximately 800 lbs). They can also maneuver quickly. They are designed to be “driver-active”, meaning the operator’s body movements help to control the ATV. All currently manufactured ATVs have 4 wheels. While not recommended, three-wheeled ATVs may still be in use. Due to safety concerns, manufacturers stopped making the 3-wheeled models in 1988.
Rollovers are a serious concern and one of the most common causes of injuries. Rollovers are often due to:
Some ORV have manufacturer provided roll over protection and other safety features such as seat belts and footrests. When roll over protection, safety cages or seatbelts are not present (or used), operators and passengers may be thrown from the vehicle or be trapped under the vehicle during a rollover. Incidents can result in severe injuries, including death.
Other incidents have occurred when:
ORVs may be used in various workplaces, such as:
In general, ORVs are used off road, and can cross (but not travel on) highways. Some jurisdictions may allow ORVs to travel on the shoulder of a highway if safe to do so. Local areas, such as your municipality, may have by-laws that allow or limit which roads can be used and at what time of day or year. Check with the authorities in your area for exact details, such as your municipality, highway traffic enforcement (police), or provincial government.
Always inspect the vehicle before each use. Follow the manufacturer’s manual. Record your findings in a log or inspection book, with your name and date. Do not use the ORV if you have any concerns.
Before turning on the ORV:
When the ORV is turned on: