Over the next two years off-road vehicle users in British Columbia will find themselves faced with a host of new rules covering off-road vehicle registration and licensing, helmet use, youth safety and environmental measures.
“We’ve heard much from off-road vehicle groups, the public, and other stakeholders, including the chief coroner and the Union of BC Municipalities on this topic,” said Kevin Krueger, the provincial minister of tourism, culture and the arts. “There is a broad consensus that it is time for regulations; we have a common vision and a solid blueprint for action.”
Under the new framework, all riders using Crown land will require one-time registration with a licence plate for their machines, in addition to wearing helmets and using lights at night. Age-appropriate safety measures and adult supervision will be required for young riders.
All off road vehicles will require registration and licensing at time of sale and re-sale. New standards for mufflers will minimize the noise impact on wildlife and spark arrestors will reduce the risk of forest fires. Additional measures to connect communities and trail networks will mean licensed riders will be able to cross public roads more conveniently with an annual vehicle licence and basic insurance.
Government officials also say the initiative will allow law enforcement officials to track stolen off road vehicles, and identify riders who are harassing wildlife or damaging sensitive habitat. They also say the system being adopted is similar to the regulations in Ontario and Quebec.
Members of the public can report violators by calling toll-free 1-877-952-RAPP (7277) line to report licence plate numbers of irresponsible operators.
“For over 30 years, we’ve known that B.C. has lagged behind when it comes to ORV regulations, to the detriment of personal safety, environmental responsibility, tourism potential and enhancement of ORV sport,” said Bruno Delesalle, co-chair of the ORV Coalition, also the executive director for the Grasslands Conservation Council. “The coalition is pleased that the provincial government, after receiving 47 recommendations from coalition stakeholders, is taking action with the implementation of expanded regulations for all off road vehicles.”
“We expect that these regulations will improve safety, environmental impacts and trail development for off road vehicle use, as well as make those who are currently causing property and environmental damage accountable,” said Bev Felske, co-chair of the ORV Coalition, and member of the Quad Riders Association of B.C. “This is an incredible province to explore and work on the land; the majority of riders do so responsibly, and those that do not will now be identifiable and liable for their actions.”
The proposed framework is the result of extensive consultations over a number of years with a wide variety of interested organizations. The regulations define off road vehicles as including dirt bikes, all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles, and will not apply to private lands.