Off-Highway Vehicle Pilot

In October 2018, Nova Scotia launched a pilot project in 7 communities across the province to safely enhance trail connectivity for four-wheeled off-highway vehicles.

The pilot allows four-wheeled off-highway vehicles (OHV) to access the shoulders of roadways, and the roadway itself where necessary, to safely travel from one trail to another or to access facilities (like gas stations) in selected pilot areas.

Only registered, licensed and insured OHVs can operate on the right of way, or the roadway, in the pilot areas. The operator must have a valid driver's licence, riders must wear a helmet and all passengers on an OHV in a pilot area must be 9 or older.

The Department of Public Works conducted an evaluation of the pilot to determine if OHVs are integrating successfully onto roadways and to assess the viability of a permanent solution for OHVs. The evaluation used data from multiple sources, including interviews and surveys with stakeholders from the pilot communities. You can read the report and the executive summary to learn more:

Off-Highway Vehicle Pilot Project Evaluation Report (PDF)
Off-Highway Vehicle Pilot Project Evaluation Report – Executive Summary (PDF)

Pilot communities

The OHV pilot locations include:

  • 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 (like utility side by sides)
  • recreational off-highway vehicle (like 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 licence 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 need to 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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