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Dirt-bikes in Acton - 'Wreaking Havoc' According to Citizen

It’s summer time. The kids are out of school. And this year it seems, many local youth have taken to riding off-road type vehicles, many of them ‘dirt bikes’. And some of them are “wreaking havoc” on town roads, in town parks and on local trails, according to one anonymous complainant. “Something needs to be done” they say, “Or do we need to have an accident or fatality before we make a change?’’ Their complaints, they feel, have fallen on deaf ears with a “lack of proactive steps by municipal government, police and by-law.” Acton UP reached out to both Halton Regional Police Services (HRPS) and Susie Spry, Manager, Enforcement Services, Town of Halton Hills to ask what has been done. Constable Steve Elms is a Media Relations Officer with HRPS. He reports; “We have not had any recent complaints regarding dirt bikes in the area. In the spring, officers worked with members of the community in the area of Tanners Drive and Rennie Street in Acton in regards to complaints of off-road motorcycles driving through fields in the area and using the park as a way to get there. Our officers frequently attended the area and with assistance from the public, were able to identify those responsible. Police attended the addresses of the youth responsible and spoke with them and their parents. They were educated about the use of off road vehicles. Since that time, we have had no further complaints and officers continue to routinely frequent the area. We would encourage members of the community to contact us if they witness this type of activity so we can respond accordingly.” Spry confirms, “We have received numerous complaints from the public regarding the usage of off road type vehicles being used in our parks, at our facilities and on roadways throughout the town.” However, she emphasizes that By-Law do not provide 24/7 enforcement and are typically Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. “If a MLEO (municipal law enforcement officer) is made aware of where any of the riders reside, a visit is made to educate and inform the residents followed by a notice of violation. Depending on where the violation is reported to have taken place will determine which by-law is referenced.” There are two by-laws that Spry says could apply to this situation. “There is a provision in the Town’s Noise By-law that prohibits the emission of noise caused by the operation of a dirt bike, moped, snowmobile, all terrain cycle, go-cart, dune buggy, motorized conveyance) at any time within 500m of a residential area. (schedule A, section 10) The set fine for this offence is $200 (this amount does not include court costs which amounts to $30). There are additional provisions within the Town’s Parks By-law that prohibits activity such as the use of a motorized vehicle, engage in conduct that endangers the health and safety of others, and vandalize/damage property. All of these offences carry a range of set fines of $100 - $200 (again excluding court costs).” Complicating this issue are changes to the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) effective July 1, 2020 which “expanded the types of off-road vehicles permitted on-road to two new additional types: off-road motorcycles commonly known as dirt bikes; and, extreme terrain vehicles, which are semi-amphibious vehicles with six or more wheels.” according to a letter from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation to municipalities in the Province. However, the letter goes on to state “Similarly to the previously permitted vehicle types, municipalities may permit the use of off-road motorcycles and extreme terrain vehicles in their local jurisdiction through by-law.” And according to Spry, “To my knowledge, the Town of Halton Hills does not have any intention on creating such a by-law at this time.” If this was adopted the HTA still requires operators:

  • Must hold at least a valid G2 or M2 licence

  • Must be at least 16 years old

  • Wear an approved motorcycle helmet

  • Wear a seat belt, where provided

  • Travel at speeds less than the posted speed limit

  • Travel only on shoulder, and where unavailable, right most portion of the road

  • Be driven in the same direction as traffic

  • Carry the ATV/ORV's registration permit

Unsafe operation of a vehicle is part of the originating complaint which would violate the above conditions. If you see this type of activity and are concerned you can report it. Spry encourages “When MLEO’s are not available to respond to this type of complaint, the public are directed to contact the non-emergency line for Halton Regional Police at 905-825-4747 and report their concerns/request an officers presence. Enforcement Services and HRPS are continuing to work together to locate and identify the individuals responsible for the illegal activities in order to hold those responsible accountable.”




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