Registration and Licensing for OHV in BC coming?

Submitted by Alayna on February 25, 2011 - 18:54

Is there any new information as to when the licencing and registration rules will be in effect? The latest information I have found (dated December 30, 2010) was a BC government fact sheet stating that the new rules will be "fully implemented by November 2011." A friend told me he heard that conservation officers near Squamish are looking for people's "registration" though I suspect they might have confused this with the required 3rd party liability insurance as I can't find evidence that the planned licencing/registration rules are in effect. I would expect putting the rules into place might be delayed by the political events in Victoria, but I'd be interested if anyone else knows what we should be expecting.

Thanks, Alayna

Submitted by PeterSprague on February 28, 2011 - 14:44.

Thanks for your question Alayna.

I sit on the Provincial government's BC OHV Framework Joint Advisory Group. The four BC back-country motorized recreational user groups (ABCSnow, ATVBC, BCORMA, BCSF) are in there working hard to make sure we don't get too steam-rolled on this.

As you might know, we have been working for over seven years to have a recreational trail stewardship and education program under the OHV Coalition. Last year, the Provincial government finally acknowledged the 47 recommendations produced by a very broad cross section of back-country recreation stakeholders, but only elected to implement two of the recommendations. Those two recommendations are focused on OHV registration, and optional licensing if the rider needs to cross roads legally. Strangely enough, the two recommendations the Ministers choose to pursue create new revenue centres for the Province.

I can't delve into specifics of what has been discussed due to having had to sign a confidentiality agreement, but suffice to say I'm fighting for our interests as best as we can. As an example,they originally wanted tin motorcycle plates on all OHV vehicles, without exception. That means MX bikes, trials bikes, ranchers quads, enduro bikes, race quads, etc. The four user groups have fought for decals that would be placed according to type specific location like they have in Oregon and California. Safer, can't be stolen, works other places with many more OHV users. Don't know if we will be listened to. There are a number of other points we have had to fight for, I can't list them all here but they cover safety, lighting, children supervision, training, etc.

Our biggest bone of contention with this is if the users are being asked to do a one-time registration per ownership, and pay any unpaid taxes on all used sales, there is a very large revenue stream being created for the Provincial government. We want a portion of those funds to go back to users in the form of a trails and education trust be set up and paid into with some of those funds from the users. The trust model is already there for the hunters, why not us? So far, there does not seem to be any interest on the part of the Government to even entertain the idea beyond staff.

Right now many millions of dollars are spent by this Province on unmotorized trails, but only token amounts relatively (<$250,000 in 2010) are spent on many 1000s of KM of mixed use trails that include motorized recreation. Noticed I didn't say summer-motorized trails exclusively, but mixed use because all motorized use trails in BC are by law for all user types. This has to change when we, as back country motorized recreation, create over $1 billion in economic activity and $100 million in in-direct taxes for British Colombia governments.

So back to your question, the official word is November 2011, but due to the political climate, reservations from several present Ministers, and serious reservations from industry and user groups it may not get legs at that time. At this time, unless users can see a real benefit from this program, I don't see how we can support it.

I am heavily recommending to all concerned riders to put this issue onto the radar of their Minister/MLA, especially with a shuffle coming soon, and rebuilding of Cristy Clark's Cabinet. Write, call, meet them in person, send letters, sign petitions, organize locally aka raise your unified voice and be heard.

As to COs stopping OHV riders, that would be for insurance while riding on a Forest Service Road only. Your BCORMA Platinum-Insured Trail Pass covers you.

I'll do my best to answer any other questions about this important subject that will effect us all. Please continue to post them up on the BCORMA forum.

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