Off-highway vehicles will soon be permitted on roads within the City of Chestermere.
City Council passed the first reading of the Traffic Control Bylaw as amended on May 10, where off-highway vehicles under certain conditions can be used on city roadways.
“When we looked at this bylaw, research was conducted throughout other municipalities throughout the province,” Chestermere Community Peace Officer Sgt. Trever Bowman said.
A permitted off-highway vehicle is designed to operate off-road and, on a highway, and must be equipped with an operational headlight, taillight, brake light, and muffler. The vehicle must be registered, insured, have a valid license plate, and the driver and passengers must be wearing appropriate safety equipment.
Off-highway vehicles cannot operate within the city on any portion of recreation area, school or playground, open space, or parkland, developed or landscaped areas, or on private property without permission of the property owner.
The first proposal of the bylaw indicated that permitted off-highway vehicles may be operated on a highway within Chestermere where the posted speed limit is 40 km/h or less.
“Our concern is the public safety aspect of it, our residents and visitors are not going to be used to seeing off-highway vehicles on our roads. We’re concerned about collisions involving these vehicles, the slower the speed limit they are travelling, injuries are significantly reduced,” Bowman said.
The permitted off-highway vehicles must be riding on the right-hand side of the roadway whenever possible, to not impede with the flow of traffic, obey all traffic control devices, and when travelling in a group, must be single file.
“We’re acting out of caution and prudence on this, these vehicles won’t be highly visible in some cases, and drivers aren’t going to be used to seeing them,” Bowman said.
City Councillor Sandy Johal-Watt expressed concerns that residents won’t be used to seeing off-highway vehicles on Chestermere roadways.
“Residents not being used to seeing these types of vehicles did cause me concern for the wellbeing of the drivers in a vehicle, and the driver of an off-road vehicle as well,” Johal-Watt said. “I want to make sure we’re prudent in ensuring the safety of our residents is our highest priority.”
Council directed city administration to look into legal for the entire bylaw, look into the speed limit restrictions, the implications of crossing major roads and crossing the bridge, and other roadway traffic in an off-highway vehicle, and legal liabilities.