Cold Lake Municipal Enforcement is reminding off-highway vehicle users to follow the rules of the road after a dirt bike rider was recently travelling nearly 100 kilometres per hour inside Cold Lake city limits; more than three times the maximum speed allowed in the City’s Off-Highway Vehicle bylaw.
“There is no need to travel at this rate of speed on an off-highway vehicle at any time, never mind within the city limits where there are other people, vehicles, and buildings nearby,” Jeff Fallow, Protective Services Manager/Fire Chief with the City of Cold Lake said. “Not only is
this behaviour against the law, it’s extremely dangerous and it puts lives at risk. The operator of this vehicle endangered their own life, and the lives of the people around them.”
The dirt bike operator and a second OHV user who was clocked traveling 80 kilometres per hour in city limits, were both charged under the City’s Off-Highway Vehicle bylaw. OHV users are urged to familiarize themselves with the bylaw and ensure they abide by the rules. Among the regulations listed in the bylaw, while traveling within the city of Cold Lake off-highway vehicle operators must:
- Not exceed speeds of 30 kilometres per hour and obey all traffic control devices
- including stop signs and traffic lights.
- Not operate between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.
- Enter and exit the city via the shortest route possible travelling to and from the operator’s place of residence, place of vehicle storage, or service station.
- Travel in the ditch beside a highway, on the shoulder of the road (if no ditch exists), or on the far right side of the roadway nearest to the curb (if no shoulder exists).
- Operators should drive on designated trails, alleyways, or service roads instead of streets, whenever possible.
- Ensure their vehicle has, at minimum, one headlight and one tail light.
- Wear an approved safety helmet at all times (driver and passengers)
“Cold Lake is an urban centre surrounded by a whole lot of nature and we recognize that many of our residents use their off-highway vehicles for work, hunting, transportation, and for pleasure,” said Mayor Craig Copeland. “Historically our OHV users have, for the most part, been respectful of their fellow citizens and followed the rules when it comes to operating their machines within the city. But all it takes is a few bad apples to ruin it for everyone else. We strongly encourage operators to practice safety, follow the rules and operate their vehicles responsibly. We’re not in the business of passing new bylaws just to pass them, but if these vehicles start to become a nuisance or a safety hazard to our residents, we will certainly look at clamping down and putting more restrictive measures in place.”
Off-highway vehicles must not be used as a primary source of transportation. Going to the grocery store, visiting friends/family, or picking up/dropping off children at school are not acceptable uses of OHVs within city limits. Fines for failing to follow regulations set out in Cold Lake’s off-highway vehicle bylaw range from $100-500 for a first offence. A second offence within one calendar year carries double the fine amount, and third and subsequent offences within the same year carry fines of triple the original amount.
“It’s not only excessive speed that’s proving to be an issue with off-highway vehicle users recently,” said Fallow. “We’ve also seen operators travelling while impaired or with alcohol in their possession, jumping over ramps at the skateboard park and doing spin-outs on grass and pavement to deliberately cause significant damage. This is absolutely unacceptable. These operators risk having their vehicle impounded, being charged under provincial legislation including the Alberta Traffic Safety Act, and most importantly, injuring or killing themselves or someone else.”
The complete bylaw regulating off-highway vehicle use (540-PL-14) and associated fines is available on the City’s website here.