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N.B. to put age limits on ATV use

New Brunswick has put new regulations laying out the sizes and allowable upper speeds of all-terrain vehicles for use by children under 16.

The new regulations will take effect May 1, the province said in a release Wednesday.

Under the new regulations, a driver who’s 14 or 15 years old is limited to using ATVs with engines no larger than 90 cc (for 2009 and earlier-year models), snowmobiles with engines no larger than 340 cc, and recreational-use dirt bikes with engines no larger than 230 cc. Such bikes must be low enough for the operator to touch the balls of both feet on the ground while straddling the bike seat.

For drivers age 12 and 13, the limits are the same except for dirt bikes, which must have engines no larger than 150 cc. For drivers age six to 11, ATV engines must be no larger than 70 cc and snowmobile and dirt bike engines no larger than 120 cc. The dirt bike height rules also apply in those two age brackets.

The province’s new regulation will also also set out the specifications for the 2010 model year and later all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) that may be driven by individuals who are age six or older, and under the age of 16, and makes sure those vehicles have speed limiters set based on various categories.

The new regulation will also require that drivers under age 16 be supervised and accompanied by a person age 19 or older who has successfully completed an approved safety training course, if the supervising adult is overseeing the youth’s operation of an ATV or snowmobile.

“Typical adult-size off-road vehicles” will be off limits for drivers under age 16, including ATVs with 850-cc engines, snowmobiles at 1,200 cc or dirt bikes at 450 cc.

The regulation will also require that the original specifications are maintained for all 2010 model year and later ATVs that are in compliance with the AMSI/SVIA 1-2007 standard for vehicles that may be driven by a person who’s age six or older, and under the age of 16. The rules will also require that these newer ATVs have speed limiters set at a maximum of 16 km/h (ages six and up), 24 km/h (ages 10 and up, and 12 and up) or 32 km/h (“transition” models).

The new regulations will also set up a class of closed courses to be used exclusively for recreational purposes such as dirt biking. Organizations running such courses will need accreditation if the closed courses are to be used by riders between ages six and 13.

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