Steinbach RCMP would like to remind all off-road vehicle owners of what is allowed and what is not, regarding their machines. 

On Monday afternoon, Steinbach Traffic Services conducted a proactive stop on two males from Steinbach riding off-road vehicles on McKenzie Avenue. Police say a total of six tickets were issued under the Off-Road Vehicles Act, including operating an unregistered vehicle, operating an off-road vehicle over a roadway or shoulder, driving an off-road vehicle without a valid license, and operating an off-road vehicle with a plate that does not match the registration. According to Steinbach RCMP, the six tickets totalled $985.

Dennis Redikop is Community Constable with Steinbach RCMP. He says when it comes to laws regarding off-road vehicles, the rules also pertain to all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, dirt bikes, utility task vehicles, and side-by-sides. 

Redikop says all off-road vehicles must be registered and insured, which can be done at any Autopac agent or Manitoba Public Insurance service centre. 

He notes off-road vehicles can only travel in ditches, trails, or crown land, where these machines are permissible. 

"We see a lot of off-road vehicles driving on roads, gravel roads, even in the city," says Redikop. "That is actually not permitted."

Redikop explains that the Off-Road Vehicles Act does not allow for these machines to drive on even gravel roads. And, he says that is where there is a lot of misunderstanding, as many riders think they have permission to be on gravel roads. 

"And if they want to go to trails, they have to hook them up and get transported," says Redikop, noting you cannot ride your off-road vehicle from your driveway in Steinbach to the trail. 

Another rule is that approved helmets must be worn at all times. Redikop says there are some exceptions. For example, if you are riding a side-by-side that has rollover protection and seatbelts, then Redikop says though the seatbelts must be worn, a helmet is not a requirement. 

"But you know what, it's always good practice," he says. 

Some of the off-road vehicle laws in Manitoba are age-related. Redikop says children under the age of 14 can only operate an off-road vehicle if they are accompanied and supervised by a parent, or someone at least 18 years old who is authorized by a parent. These riders can only travel in ditches and cannot ride on roadways, shoulders, or sidewalks.

Redikop says Manitobans who are 14 years of age and older, without a valid driver's license, or are 15-and-a-half years of age with a valid learner stage driver's license, can operate an off-road vehicle unsupervised. These riders are allowed to operate in ditches but cannot travel on roadways, shoulders or sidewalks. 

Redikop says Manitobans who are 16 years of age and older, who have a valid intermediate or full-stage driver's license, can operate an off-road vehicle in ditches and where they are permitted on crown land or trails. They are also allowed to cross a roadway at or within five metres of an intersection. 

And finally, Redikop says you should not ride with a passenger unless your off-road vehicle is specifically designed to hold more than one person. He asks riders to be respectful to anyone they come across and to keep to the right. And notes that impaired driving laws also apply to all motorized vehicles, including off-road vehicles.