Sports

ORV legislation will keep backcountry safe

  - public domain image
— image credit: public domain image

Bill 13, the Off Road Vehicle Act recently introduced, promises certainty, safety and regulatory structure for thousands of off-road enthusiasts.

The proposed Off Road Vehicle (ORV) Act replaces the 40-year-old Motor Vehicle (All Terrain) Act with a modern management structure, designed to align with existing regulatory regimes at minimal cost.

Increased use of quads, snowmobiles and other ORVs has helped British Columbians get out and enjoy the beauty of the province's backcountry. Bill 13 will help ensure these vehicles are driven in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.

The act, if passed and brought into force, will:

• Establish a one-time registration system specifically designed to integrate with the pre-existing structure of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia's vehicle registry, reducing implementation costs. ORVs will have to be registered and display a clearly visible number plate before they can be operated on Crown or other public land.

• Allow the development of regulations on the rules of operation (such as wearing helmets), safety standards and conditions of use for a wide range of modern ORVs, including snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles or "quads", dirt bikes and utility terrain vehicles.

• Assist in identifying stolen or abandoned ORVs, by requiring ORVs to be registered in a database that is accessible to peace officers at all times.

• Provide officers with more effective enforcement tools to target the small number of irresponsible ORV owners that endanger others or damage sensitive habitat. This includes the ability to stop and inspect ORVs for violations, seize an ORV for safety or evidence purposes, and increase the maximum fine for offences from $500 to $5,000.

Included in the proposed ORV legislation is an amendment to the Special Accounts Appropriation and Control Act establishing the ORV Trail Management Sub-account. This will ease the process of providing future investments directly into developing and maintaining trails, delivering lasting benefits to the ORV tourism industry in rural communities.

To view a copy of the bill and view its progress through debate, visit:

http://www.leg.bc.ca/40th2nd/4-4-40-2.htm

 

 

 

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