Puslinch council seeks clarity on liability concerns about ATVs on local roads

ABERFOYLE – Puslinch officials are seeking input from the township’s insurance provider on liability concerns and other implications of implementing bylaws allowing ATVs on municipal highways.

On Jan. 2, councillors briefly looked at AMO’s Queen’s Park Update, which stated “through Bill 132, the Highway Traffic Act was amended to allow municipal governments to pass bylaws that will allow some off-road vehicles to be driven on municipal highways.”

Councillor Matthew Bulmer said this issue is frequently discussed at the Wellington County Farm Safety Association and touched upon at the Wellington County Safe Communities group.

Bulmer said it could be a challenging issue for Puslinch and Wellington County.

“We share policing with the rest of the county … and there is some interest in the northern part of the county to allow ATVs on local roads,” he said

Bulmer noted views may be different in Centre Wellington and the southern municipalities, so there needs to be input from the Wellington County OPP.

Councillor Jessica Goyda agreed and asked how the OPP would be able to keep track of or be able to enforce different rules in different parts of the county.

Councillor John Sepulis said, “I am really concerned with the potential of liability as well as enforcement.”

Mayor James Seeley also wanted to know the county’s position since its roads are impacted as well.

Seeley said “to be honest with you, I own an ATV and have been pulled over a couple of times by the OPP – and there are times they drive right by you.”

Seeley clarified the times he was stopped was because officers could not see the licence plate and wanted to make certain he had the proper paperwork.

As he saw it, “It may not be permitted, but it is not disallowed … it’s a grey area.”

Council passed its resolution asking for a better understanding of liability and potential implications of allowing off-road vehicles to be driven on local highways.