New ATV rules near completion

Whitehorse's all-terrain vehicle riders could face new rules by July, if plans go smoothly to overhaul the city's bylaws.

Whitehorse’s all-terrain vehicle riders could face new rules by July, if plans go smoothly to overhaul the city’s bylaws.

A recent survey, answered by 127 respondents, showed strong support for most of the recommendations produced by a task force this spring.

So bylaw services will proceed with having a draft bylaw vetted by the city’s lawyer, then put the document out for public review in May, said bylaw chief David Pruden.

A tweaked bylaw will be presented to council in June, with the aim of having new rules on the books by July.

One of the most controversial changes being considered would require riders to pass a safety course before operating quads within city limits. A similar rule was included in the city’s new snowmobile bylaw, which council approved in late February.

Scofflaw riders can also expect stiffer fines, in line with what snowmobilers now face. That means fines of up to $500 for serious infractions, such as riding a machine without insurance or a helmet, riding in a prohibited area after being warned, harassing wildlife or pets, passing in an unsafe manner, crossing dangerously, interfering with a traffic control device and failing to stop or provide information for a bylaw officer.

Other task force recommendations include:

* ATVs would face a speed limit of 30 kilometres per hour on multi-use trails, neighbourhood trails and roadways while travelling to designated trailheads, and 50 km/h in other areas;

* riders who leave muddy ruts behind in the spring could face a fine for trail damage;

* like snowmobiles, ATVs would be banned in environmentally sensitive areas;

* fines collected from scofflaws would be spent on trail maintenance.

As it stands, ATV riders are expected to be 16 years of age and to possess a driver’s licence, registration and insurance. They’re also expected to wear a helmet within city limits.

These rules aren’t always followed, and bylaw officers struggle to enforce the laws. Pruden hopes that better trail signs, mandatory training courses and other outreach efforts will improve compliance.

“How do you cover everywhere? Well, you don’t,” said Pruden. “You hit the hot areas and you do random checks everywhere else.”

Eventually, the task force envisions ATVs being restricted to operating on designated trails. But that means a new trail plan needs to be crafted first, and it remains unclear when that will be done.

Currently, some neighbourhoods, like Riverdale, lack a designated “out and away” trail for riders.

Designated trails for ATVs won’t necessarily be the same routes taken by snowmobiles, as frozen paths become mudbogs as the weather warms, said Pruden.

Contact John Thompson at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speak at a COVID-19 update press conference in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. On Nov. 24, Silver and Hanley announced masks will be mandatory in public places as of Dec. 1, and encouraged Yukoners to begin wearing masks immediately. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Masks mandatory in public places starting on Dec. 1

“The safe six has just got a plus one,” Silver said.

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 30. Hanley announced three more COVID-19 cases in a release on Nov. 21. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three more COVID-19 cases, new exposure notice announced

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, announced three… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: COVID-19 strikes another blow at high-school students

They don’t show up very often in COVID-19 case statistics, but they… Continue reading

The Cornerstone housing project under construction at the end of Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. Community Services Minister John Streicker said he will consult with the Yukon Contractors Association after concerns were raised in the legislature about COVID-19 isolation procedures for Outside workers at the site. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Concerns raised about alternate self-isolation plans for construction

Minister Streicker said going forward, official safety plans should be shared across a worksite

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Megan Waterman, director of the Lastraw Ranch, is using remediated placer mine land in the Dawson area to raise local meat in a new initiative undertaken with the Yukon government’s agriculture branch. (Submitted)
Dawson-area farm using placer miner partnership to raise pigs on leased land

“Who in their right mind is going to do agriculture at a mining claim? But this made sense.”

Riverdale residents can learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s plan to FireSmart a total of 24 hectares in the area of Chadburn Lake Road and south of the Hidden Lakes trail at a meeting on Nov. 26. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Meeting will focus on FireSmart plans

Riverdale residents will learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s FireSmarting… Continue reading

The City of Whitehorse is planning to borrow $10 million to help pay for the construction of the operations building (pictured), a move that has one concillor questioning why they don’t just use reserve funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Councillor questions borrowing plan

City of Whitehorse would borrow $10 million for operations building

Most Read