The regulations surrounding off-road vehicles in the province go live on Nov. 1.
The government said the new regulations are meant to promote safe and responsible use of the province’s backcountry. That includes provisions on placement of number plates, rules for child operators and safety equipment requirements.
Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations said that off-road vehicle registration will help combat vehicle theft and promote responsible use of ORVs.
“The new safety standards will help keep off-road vehicles users safe in B.C.’s backcountry,” Thomson said.
Voluntary registration has been in place since Nov. 17, 2014, and since then the province says over 35,000 users have registered. The combined cost of the number plate and registration fee is $48.
The changes come after the provincial government passed the Off-Road Vehicle Act on March 24, 2014, support the Province’s Off Road Vehicle Management Framework. The framework helps British Columbians get out and enjoy the beauty of the province’s backcountry and ensure off-road vehicles, including snowmobiles, are driven in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.
Under the new law helmets must be worn when operating off-road vehicles, seat belts must be used if the manufacturer has installed seat belts, and lights are mandatory when riding on Crown land 30 minutes after sunset or 30 minutes before sunrise. If lights are not installed by the manufacturer, temporary lights can be attached to the vehicle.
Further, children must be supervised when riding on Crown land and be riding an appropriate sized off-road vehicle as recommended by the manufacturer.
The off-road vehicle registration is integrated within the pre-existing structure of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia’s (ICBC) motor vehicle registry. This will reduce implementation costs and allows off road vehicle owners to register at any ICBC insurance broker in the province.
The regulations also fulfil the province’s commitment to create a sticker option for those off-road vehicles which are unable to house metal plates. Owners who already secured an number plate during voluntary registration can, between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, 2015, bring their registration and metal plate to any ICBC broker and exchange their metal plate for a sticker for no charge. After Dec. 31, 2015, an $18 fee will apply to exchange a metal plate for a sticker or vice versa.
As well, snowmobile owners who have already registered their vehicles under the Motor Vehicle (All Terrain) Act will be eligible for refund, up until Nov. 16, 2015, when they register under the ORV Act. The refund will be for the amount they had already paid – this will be $5 for transfers and $10 for registration.
George Wilson, president, BC Wildlife Federation, said the federation was one of many organizations that assisted the ministry in developing the legislation.
“The BCWF supports the legislation as we now have a very cost effective identification system which will assist in enforcement over ORV owners that are not using their machines responsibly,” Wilson said.
The regulations govern the rules of operation, safety standards, penalties and conditions of use for a wide range of off-road vehicles, including snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles (quads), dirt bikes and side-by-sides.
An estimated 200,000 off-road vehicles are used in the province.
For more detailed information on the new ORV regulations there is a detailed FAQ at: https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/mof/orv/