You’re at the point where you can’t wait to hit the trails with your new vehicle to explore the vast regions and their stunning landscapes. However, do you have all the documents to do so legally?
Now that you are the owner of a brand new vehicle, you have obligations to comply with applicable laws.
The examples below are relevant for the province of Quebec; they vary from one region to another in Canada. Please refer to local authorities, ATV Club, and Federation for all the details regarding your responsibilities in your region.
1- Driving license and ATV certification depending on the vehicle category
First, we have to make a distinction between ATVs and UTVs. It is allowed to ride an ATV from the age of 16, provided you have completed the required training for 16-17-year-olds. However, this certificate does not permit to cross a public road. Single-seater ATVs equipped with a passenger seat are reserved for ages 18 and over.
Second, no driving skill certificate is required to drive a UTV (commonly called a side-by-side vehicle) because Quebec’s Off-Road Vehicle Act reserves the right to operate this type of vehicle to persons of 18 years and over.
But beware: as soon as your route crosses a road, street, or any public road, you must have a valid driver’s license or probationary license (regardless of the class) or hold a valid learner’s license. It is forbidden to drive on public roads, except in rare exceptions provided for by law.
2- Valid Trail Access Pass
A trail access pass is issued in the name of the vehicle owner. The vehicle can be lent to the driver of his choice, provided that the latter complies with the requirements set out in the Quebec’s Act respecting off-highway vehicles as mentioned in point 1 above.
The driver must have proof of payment for this right of access at all times. The vehicle must also have the access sticker affixed on the left-hand side.
In Québec, the trail Access Pass sold by the FQCQ comes with public liability insurance of $ 1,000,000. It is mandatory to have this type of insurance by law. However, even if the FQCQ has negotiated favorable rates with Intact Insurance, you have the choice to be reimbursed for part of this amount; however, you must have minimum liability insurance of $ 500,000 from your insurer.
The annual access fee allows access to the trails in winter and summer and is valid from November 1 to October 31 of the following year. The seasonal access pass (summer) allows you to use the trails from May 1 to October 31 of the same year.
The same trail access pass will allow you to ride over 25,000 km of trails maintained by the 112 ATV clubs throughout the province of Quebec, all under the FQCQ ATV Federation. Purchasing this access pass from a local point of sale (online during the Covid-19 pandemic) supports your local club and gives you the right to vote at the club’s AGM.
Vehicle Registration Certificate
When you register your quad in Quebec, the SAAQ offers no protection for your bodily injuries unless you are involved in an accident with a moving motor vehicle on a public road. The civil liability insurance included with the purchase of your right of access (or that offered by your insurer) only covers material damage or bodily injury caused to a third party.
Suppose you do not have group insurance at work or other personal insurance (insurance that protects you in your leisure time). In that case, you should take out private injury insurance with your usual insurer. These protections are available at an affordable cost and will protect you all year round.
Although this document is optional, we recommend that you get a map of the trails you will visit from the local clubs. The FQCQ has also made the iQUAD web app available to users, allowing you to follow your route. It also offers much useful information, such as trail closing or opening depending on the current season.
Here is a summary of the documents you must have with you when riding:
- Your right of trail access or your day pass
- Your vehicle registration certificate
- Your proof of liability insurance of $ 500,000 minimum
- An identity document indicating your age
- An ATV driving certificate or authorization to drive, if applicable,
- Your driving license, if you cross a public road
- The rental agreement or loan document of the vehicle, if applicable.
We have bought an UTV for use at a summer camp on private property. Is it a requirement that anyone driving the vehicle is over 18 and holds a valid drivers license. I see references to private land owned by the muncipality but not to private land. There is limited public access on a single track road that leads into the camp