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taken from Nova Scotia newspaper

1654 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  mac102004
Off-highway vehicle drivers now have access to old logging roads on Crown land and veteran drivers won’t have to take a training course under regulatory changes Natural Resources Minister David Morse announced Wednesday.

Another change gives kids younger than 15 more time to complete a safety training course.

The changes came as more than 150 off-highway vehicle enthusiasts from Yarmouth to Sydney gathered at Province House to push for changes to rules they say were too strict.

Mr. Morse said the changes had been in the works for a while and the province stepped up the timeline when officials knew the rally was coming.

"Yes, we burned the midnight oil and tidied up the loose ends," he said. "We felt that we could probably have struck a better balance. Clearly, it wasn’t the government’s intention to disenfranchise all the ATV enthusiasts. It’s to allow them to find an appropriate place to pursue their sport."

The regulations that took effect last year prevented people from taking their machines on "highways," which had been narrowly defined as ungated roads. Riders can now go on Crown logging roads, roads on private property designed for or accessible to off-highway vehicles, and abandoned public roads.

Mr. Morse said the province has relaxed the requirement for access to roads on private land because some large forestry companies weren’t comfortable giving written permission to riders.

Mr. Morse said riders now have access to "established trails" they used prior to April 1 on private land, although landowners can still withdraw permission.

"This is in no way meant to compromise the rights of property owners," Mr. Morse said.

Raymond Plourde, wilderness co-ordinator with the Ecology Action Centre in Halifax, said all-terrain vehicle enthusiasts need and should have places to ride, but he’s concerned that "established trails" leaves a grey area. Mr. Morse said people who bought an off-highway vehicle before April 1, 2006, register that vehicle before Sept. 30 this year and have a valid driver’s licence don’t have to take a safety training course.

The changes were among those off-highway vehicle riders have been calling for and were among those listed on a petition the group dropped off Wednesday. The petition had more than 8,000 signatures.

Another change they want is easing restrictions on children younger than 14, who must now ride on closed courses, although they said there are no such courses available yet.

Gord MacDonald, an ATV dealer in Sydney who spoke for the group at the rally, said those who attended are happy with the changes the government has made so far.

"It would be nice to win every battle, but we can’t do this today," Mr. MacDonald said.

The safety training requirement for kids younger than 15 has a new deadline. Kids younger than 14 on ATVs have an extra six months, until April 1, 2008, and kids between 14 and 15 have an extra year, until Oct. 1, 2008.

( djackson
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i am happy that they are changing the rules a little bit.
what part of ns are you from? glace bay myself.
I know several dealers in Nova Scotia & mechanics (most I've gone to Honda service school with) .. They tell me thru MSN that 3rd party insurance in mandatory starting April 1st , and license jumped from $15.00 year to $50.00
I'm from the valley so there are lots of fire roads that will be opened up. Dealers up here are going out of buisness left and right. I'm not taking any course to drive a bike. They will have to catch me. :twisted:
QUOTE ("Honda Mechanic":1lqtgdmb)
I know several dealers in Nova Scotia & mechanics (most I've gone to Honda service school with) .. They tell me thru MSN that 3rd party insurance in mandatory starting April 1st , and license jumped from $15.00 year to $50.00
Thats right, us riders here in nowhere land aka Cape Breton won't see a cent of that "infrastructure fund" used to better our trails.
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