Guide to meeting and sharing your passion for ORV sports with your MLA

Here is a bullet list to help guide you in meeting your MLA successfully.

It is intended as a guide, not a cookbook to follow methodically. Pick the bullets that apply.

Email me if you want to bounce ideas or need help:

  1. Find your MLA at BC MLA Finder:
  2. Call and make an appointment
  3. Be prepared to offer a key point of why you want to meet your MLA, aka your discussion focus


  1. I'm concerned for my kids' safety with this new requirement for 5x8 inch metal plates on our ORVs.
  2. My dealer just told me that my warranty will be void if I drill holes in my new snowmobile tunnel to mount ID plate. Is the Government providing alternative solutions?
  3. Is it legal for me to be required to install a metal registration plate on my dirt bike that passed Canada Safety Council code and was not designed for a plate originally?

General protocol

  • Be early! It shows respect for their position and makes sure you get your fully allotted minutes.
  • If the MLA is busy or in the Legislature, expect to meet with an Assistant. Contrary to opinion, MLAs are very busy and short on time, especially Cabinet Ministers.
  • Expect 20 minutes, more is a bonus.
  • If you can't instill passion and get your point across in 20 minutes, you've lost them anyway.
  • Be yourself, but always respectful and polite.
  • Show your passion, but in a exciting non-confrontational way.
  • Draw them into your story. You have 3 minutes max to hook them.
  • Smile!
  • Listen!
  • Remember votes are won on passion, not just some dry logical argument. Same goes here.
  • Be prepared with solid technical facts to back up your ideas and concerns though
  • Go with only one or two main talking points, not a flood of grips about the system in general being unfair
  • Practice if you need to get rid of being nervous, aka be prepared
  • Be careful with time
  • Watch for clues the meeting is coming to an end - an Assistant starting to stand, MLA checking watch.
  • When it is time to leave, stand up, shake their hand, look them in the eye and thank them for their time.

ORV Vehicle ID talking points

  1. Select one or two main talking points to help keep the focus
  2. Make sure to offer viable solutions to solve your issue(s)
  3. Pick points from the below list, or add your own. I've thrown the whole gamut here, and most may not apply to your story. These are culled from my notes to Government around ORV Act. Idea is to give you material to generate your own story.
  • Russ Ehness, Executive Director of National Off Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, feels that the use of metal plates retro fitted to machines that were not designed for them is a very problematic idea.
  • Russ asks that Government staff call him and he can provide Government directly all the specific information required to back our 5 year insistence that decals for ORM is the only viable option of identification. He has decades of experience on OHV issues. His cell phone number is: 406-899-0898
  • Most US jurisdictions issue decals for off-highway motorcycles. When plates are issued, they are for on highway use.
  • Even more problematic is the idea of putting a 5 x 8 inch tin plate on a youth or kids bike after the manufactures and Canada Safety Council have spent so much time engineering and approving the vehicle to be as safe as possible.
  • One idea bouncing around is a decal with space for the vehicle owner to write in their vehicle registration number. This would be backed up with a copy of the registration that could be carried on person or under the seat in a plastic bag. If stopped, and the identification number is false, then the rider would have a bunch of explaining to do to the CO. Government agents could make these decals available to riders. This would help when we ride in other jurisdictions that recognize out of state decals.
  • The ORM community and its representatives have never really discussed and come to a viable conclusion on vehicle identification with Government. From our perspective, the only viable and safe vehicle identification is a decal mounted on the fork tube.
  • In Minnesota, the Government pushed for full size plates, then smaller motorcycle plates, but now have decals. The deciding factor was when their State Representative was asked how far he could read the license plate on the car in front of him. Not very far it turned out. Decals on the top of the fork tube are now used, plainly visible to enforcement personnel as needed.
  • In Idaho, the state provides a metal plate that the actual identification sticker can be affixed to. ORM there install the decal to the fork tubes and store the plate, and they can ride everywhere except State and Federal Highways with that identification. Similar story across many of the States.
  • Providing statistics for youth accident rates from metal 5 x 8 plates is misguided. Who would actually record that information when little Johnny was sitting in ER? A more telling story would unfold if you look at all the competition regulations for the FIM, AMA, and other major governing bodies. Look at their safety regulations and tell me where it says that number plates will be tin for safety. Even a vintage 1979 Husky has round plastic number plates.
  • I would be interested in how other jurisdictions handle youth and kids bikes for registration and identification specifically. I need to verify this, but suspect many would not even require a PW50 or like Honda to be registered.
  • A 5 x 8 plate will not fit on the front number plate above my headlight, even on my full size modern off-road motorcycle that is street legal in Europe. The corners will stick out beyond my front number plate 1/2 – 1". I sure don't fancy having those sharp corners hanging out just waiting to scrap me next time I bail off a big fir log.
  • Where on a trials bike is that going to be fit? Have Government staff actually examined a trials bike? Seen where and how they ride? Now imagine on a youth or kids bike. Right where their hands and arms could be in a crash.
  • Has Government staff actually gone to Victoria dealers and tried to fit that 5 x 8 plate onto a PW50 or like youth bike? They should see Dave Fair at Gas Gas Canada and ask him where the trials riders would fit that plate.
  • We are talking want of compliance, when the Government seems bent on taking the path of highest resistance. Having tin plates that break, get destroyed, blooded, lost, and stolen is of questionable decision making. BCORMA has recommended against it for over 5 years. The State of California has more off-road vehicles than all of Canada, and they use a decal system, like all the rest of the West Coast States for ORM.
  • Now if we are to do what was suggested and just stuff them inside our knapsack when we ride, what is the point of this identification exercise in the first place?
  • Lets have an honest and open discussion about this with Ministers who can and will make the actual decisions on this very important matter. I will also be continuing to ask for more public discussion and input on vehicle identification from riders. Their input and acceptance of that input is vital if our present government wants this new legislation to be a success.

Make it authentic and yours. Write your story out. Have others ask questions and you answer.
Its work, but way less than driving 6 hours to ride in 15 acres like they have to in parts of the USA. Its for today and the future of our trail sports.
We have the best riding opportunities in the world. Lets keep it that way.

Those with experience meeting their MLA and want to contribute to this guide, please email your pointers and I will gladly add them.

Good luck and thank you from all BC dirt bikers for your contribution,

Peter Sprague, MSc.
Executive Director
BC Off-Road Motorcycle Association

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