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Posted: October 15, 2015

Off-road vehicle registration mandatory on Nov. 1

Off-road vehicle registration and safety provisions are mandatory on Crown land effective Nov. 1, following passage of regulations in support of the Off-Road Vehicle Act.

The new regulations will promote safe and responsible use of B.C.’s backcountry, and include provisions on number plate placement, rules for child operators and safety equipment requirements, noted a Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO) press release.

“Off-road vehicle registration will help combat vehicle theft and promote responsible use of ORVs. The new safety standards will help keep ORV users safe in B.C.’s backcountry,” stated Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations –

Operating standards include:

atver* Helmets: Helmets must be worn when operating an off-road vehicle (ORV). For standards of acceptable helmets see section 22 of the Off-Road Vehicle Regulation at (Off-Road Vehicle Act).

* Seat belts: If a manufacturer has installed seat belts, then the seat belt must be worn during the operation of that vehicle.

* Lights: ORVs must use lights during low visibility conditions 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 ORV. For details on light standards see section 24 of the Off-Road Vehicle Regulation.

* Children: Children must be supervised when riding on Crown land and be riding an appropriate sized ORV as recommended by the manufacturer. For details, see sections 16-18 of the Off-Road Vehicle Regulation.

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 of the 900-plus ICBC insurance brokers in the province.

The regulations also fulfill the province’s commitment to create a sticker option for those ORVs which are unable to house metal plates.

Owners who already secured an ORV 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.

CranPlaySnomoAs 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, 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.

Voluntary registration has been in place since Nov. 17, 2014, and since then over 35,000 users have registered. As of Nov. 1, registration will be mandatory. The combined cost of the number plate and registration fee remains $48.

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 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.

The regulations govern the rules of operation, safety standards, penalties and conditions of use for a wide range of ORVs, including snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles or “quads”, dirt bikes and side-by-sides (e.g. Rhinos and Argos).

The regulations have the support of a number provincial organizations.

“The BC Wildlife Federation was one of many organizations that assisted the ministry of FLNRO in developing the ORV registration 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,” said George Wilson, president, BC Wildlife Federation.

quadder Kootenay“The BC Snowmobile Federation along with its other power sports partners (ATVBC & BCORMA) invested a lot of volunteer time, effort and expense in working with government on this initiative. We are very pleased that the new regulations are being implemented and we look forward to working closely with government to further enhance organized snowmobiling in the Province of British Columbia,” added Erin Hart, president of the BC Snowmobile Federation.

Snowmobiles have been registered in British Columbia since the 1970s.

“B.C. local governments have long supported changes to better manage and regulate the use of off road vehicles. These new measures will enhance public safety and I look forward to seeing them go into effect November 1,” said Al Richmond, president of the Union of B.C. Municipalities.

An estimated 200,000 off-road vehicles are used in the province.

ORVs are used in a variety of sectors in British Columbia, including farming, ranching, forestry, oil and gas, mining, sport, tourism, transportation and search and rescue.

How to register

Information on what is needed to register an ORV can vary depending on whether your ORV is new, used or being imported from the United States. For a detailed list of information for each of these scenarios, visit the ICBC website.

For more detailed information on the new ORV regulations there is a detailed FAQ at:


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