Pilot project will allow ATVs on some N.S. highways

ATVs will have legal access to certain sections of highways in six communities as of Oct. 1.

ATVs will have legal access to certain sections of highways in 6 communities as of Oct. 1

ATVs will soon be permitted on highways in Nova Scotia as part of a pilot project, but only on designated sections of roads. (Robert Guertin/CBC)

The provincial government is asking Nova Scotians to start sharing the road — or at least some of it — with all-terrain vehicles.

Beginning Oct. 1, ATVs will have legal access to 14 kilometres of provincial roads. The access does not extend to the 100-series highways.

Barry Barnet, executive director of the ATV Association of Nova Scotia (ATVANS), says the plan is to start small.

"We've looked at sites and identified sites that we believe are safe, reasonable places where people can ride on the shoulder."

The Transportation Department and ATVANS picked sections of roadways in six communities:

  • Porters Lake 0.1 km
  • New Germany 0.2 km
  • Weymouth 1.8 km
  • Walton 3.8 km
  • Sherbrooke 2.5 km
  • Gabarus 5.5 km

Depending on the success of the three-year pilot, Ship Harbour, Nappan and Milton may also be added.

In most of the selected locations, ATVs would be allowed to drive along the shoulder of the road, and in some cases the paved portion, in order to connect from one trail to another — or in the case of Walton, in order to reach a local pub.

Barry Barnet is the executive director of the ATV Association of Nova Scotia. (Robert Guertin/CBC)

"Right now it's happening in Nova Scotia in an illegal way," Barnet said. "We want to just legalize current activities so that it's safe and responsible and everybody knows what they're doing."

Riders can only be on the selected roads during daylight hours. No one younger than nine can be a passenger. And they must stick to a 25 km/h speed limit.

Transportation Minister Lloyd Hines said the province is putting up signs along the roads and will use social media to spread word of the changes. 

He said the pilot project is long overdue and Nova Scotia is lagging behind when it comes to taking advantage of the economic benefits that happen when ATVs are given access to roads.

"As in everything in our society, there is evolution," said Hines.

About the Author

Preston Mulligan

Reporter

Preston Mulligan has been a reporter in the Maritimes for more than 20 years. Along with his reporting gig, he also hosts CBC Radio's Sunday phone-in show, Maritime Connection.