Off-Highway Vehicle Pilot

In October 2018, Nova Scotia launched a three-year pilot project in seven communities across the province to safely enhance trail connectivity for Off-Highway Vehicles.

The pilot enables Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV) to access the shoulders of roadways, and the roadway itself where necessary, in order to safely travel from one OHV trail to another or to access facilities, such as gas stations, in selected pilot areas.

Only certain registered, licenced and insured OHVs can operate on the right of way, or the roadway, in these pilot areas as long as the operator has a valid driver’s licence. No passenger on an OHV in a pilot area can be younger than 9 years old.

The pilot project will give the department an opportunity to evaluate the integration of OHVs onto our roadways and help determine whether a permanent solution is viable.

We are currently evaluating the OHV pilot project and ask that OHV riders and Nova Scotians who experience OHVs use of the roadways to respond to these surveys to help inform decisions about the viability of a permanent solution. The online surveys will be open until February 21, 2021 and can be accessed at: OHV Rider Survey and OHV Community Survey.

Pilot Communities

The seven locations for the Off-Highway Vehicle Pilot are:

  • Ship Harbour (HRM) – Portions of West Ship Harbour Road and Trunk 7
  • Porters Lake (HRM) – Myra Road
  • New Germany (Lunenburg County) – Trunk 10
  • Weymouth (Digby County) – Trunk 1
  • Walton (East Hants) – Bancroft Road
  • Sherbrooke (Guysborough County) – Trunk 7
  • Gabarus (CBRM) – Oceanview Drive and Route 327

Summary of the Rules of the Road for OHV Pilot Areas Only

Vehicles Permitted

  • All-Terrain Vehicles
  • Multi-Purpose Off-Highway Utility Vehicle (i.e. utility side by sides)
  • Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle (i.e. recreational side by sides)

 Licensing and Registration

  • Registration fees and application processes apply as outlined in the Off-Highway Vehicle Act. 
  • To operate an OHV on the right of way, the operator must hold a valid driver’s license under the Motor Vehicle Act.  Drivers holding a learner’s licence will not be permitted to take part in the pilot.  For non-residents of Nova Scotia, the equivalent of a Class 5 in their jurisdiction of residence will be required.
  • Any OHV accessing pilot areas must have a number plate affixed to the vehicle. 
  • OHVs shall be insured in accordance with Section 15B of the Off-Highway Vehicles Act. 


  • When operating in pilot areas OHVS will be limited to speeds of no more than 25km/h.
  • OHVs will only be permitted to travel in pilot areas from the hours of one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after dusk.
  • OHVs will be permitted to be driven on the shoulder of the designated highway only in the same direction as traffic using the same side of the highway. 
  • OHVs will be permitted to be driven on roadways in the same direction as traffic using the same side of the highway if:
    • There is no shoulder,
    • The shoulder is obstructed,
    • They are preparing to make a left turn across the roadway,
    • The shoulder is not wide enough to be driven with all tires completely off the roadway, or
    • When being driven across a level railway crossing
  • When entering the shoulder or roadway of a designated highway OHVs will be required to yield the right of way to any traffic already using the shoulder or roadway. OHVs will be permitted to enter shoulder only when safe to do so. 
  • Before commencing a left turn the OHV will be required to (without interfering with traffic) move away from the shoulder or right edge of the roadway and be positioned on the roadway in the position to make a left turn.  Upon completing a left turn, the OHV will be required to (without interfering with traffic) move back to the right edge of the roadway or shoulder. 
  • The OHV Act prohibits OHVs from being equipped with turn signals. Therefore, prior to commencing any turn OHVs will be required to indicate the intention to turn following the hand signalling instructions provided in the Motor Vehicle Act.
  • OHVs will be required to travel in single file and are not permitted to pass when riding in pilot areas. 
  • The operation of an OHV with a passenger younger than 9 years old is prohibited in pilot areas.


  • OHVs may only carry passengers in pilot areas if the OHV is designed by the original equipment manufacturer to carry both a driver and a passenger
  • In addition to any other provision in the pilot regulations, no person will be permitted to operate an OHV in a pilot area unless it meets all equipment requirements in accordance with the Nova Scotia’s Off-Highway Vehicle Act and general regulations.


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