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Farm, ranch work still exempt from Alberta helmet rule Law takes effect May 15 for ATV, snowmobile use on public land Farm and/or ranch work remain exempt in the final version of Alberta’s new law requiring off-highway vehicle users to wear helmets while riding on public land. Provincial Bill 36, which passed in December, takes effect May 15, requiring an approved helmet for anyone “driving, operating, riding in or on, or being towed by” an off-highway vehicle, and sets out fines for violations. For the purpose of the new rules, an “off-highway vehicle” is any motorized vehicle built for cross-country travel on land, water, snow, ice, marshes or “other natural terrain.” Thus, the law covers use of all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, motorcycles, dirt bikes, utility terrain vehicles and amphibious vehicles, among others. The bill defines “public land” as Crown land or other land which isn’t privately owned. That includes any areas designated for public off-highway vehicle use, as well as any public roadways and highway rights-of-way. Bill 36 also sets fines of $155 for not wearing a helmet, and fines of $93 for wearing a helmet that isn’t CSA-compliant or is damaged or improperly modified. Those are the same fines already in place for on-road violations involving motorcycle riders, the province noted. The law doesn’t require helmets for those using off-highway vehicles on their own property, on other private property with the owner’s permission, or on First Nations reserve or Metis settlement lands (except those with laws requiring it). The province said the helmet rule doesn’t apply in the performance of “farming or ranching operations exempt from Alberta’s occupational health and safety laws.” Those who have documented exemptions from Alberta Transportation, and are following the terms of those exemptions, are also exempt from the new helmet law, as are those who wear turbans as “bona fide” members of the Sikh faith, the province said.

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