Off-road vehicle registration starts in B.C. next Monday for backcountry users

Safe and responsible use of B.C.’s backcountry will get a boost on Monday, with upcoming launch of the registration system

Safe and responsible use of B.C.’s backcountry will get a boost on Monday, Nov. 17, with the upcoming launch of the registration system for off-road vehicles, as well as increases to safe access for highway crossings for recreational off road vehicles.

To provide plenty of notice and allow for a smooth transition, the new registration system is currently voluntary for operation on Crown land, but will become mandatory on June 1, 2015.

The combined cost of the number plate and registration fee is $48.

Effective Nov. 17, off-road vehicle owners can obtain a one-time registration for off-road vehicles that 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 of the 900-plus ICBC insurance brokers in the province.

These changes, made possible by the passage of the Off-Road Vehicle Act on March 24, 2014, support the Province’s Off Road Vehicle Management Framework. The framework will help 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.

In addition, changes to the Motor Vehicle Act regulations, effective Nov. 17 will allow off-road vehicle operators greater access to highways, including the ability to: * Cross a highway without having to obtain an operation permit if the crossing is controlled by a stop sign or traffic light.

* Cross a highway where local police authorize through an operation permit.

* Load or unload in a parking lot without an operation permit.

* Obtain an operation permit with an extended term of up to two years.

To date, the Off-Road Vehicle Management Framework has been implemented in stages. Future regulations will follow that will flesh out ORV rules of operation, safety standards, penalties and conditions of use for a wide range of modern ORVs, including snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles or “quads”, dirt bikes and side-by-sides (e.g., Rhinos and Argos).

“Off-road vehicle registration will help combat vehicle theft as well as promote safe and environmentally responsible use of ORVs in B.C.’s backcountry,” stated Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations,” Starting voluntary registration now provides ORV owners plenty of opportunity to adjust to the new requirements.”

Snowmobiles have been registered in British Columbia since the 1970s.  There are an estimated 200,000 off-road vehicles being used in the province.