Implementation of ORV Act anticipated for fall of 2014

The implementation of Bill 13, the ORV Act, including registration provisions, is anticipated for the fall of 2014.

Last week Bill 13, the Off Road Vehicle Act (ORV) promised certainty, safety and regulatory structure for off-road enthusiasts was introduced.

The proposed ORV Act will replace the 40- year-old Motor Vehicle (All Terrain) Act and help to ensure that ORVs are driven in a safe and responsible manner.

“This is a very good piece of proposed legislation,” said Terry Wardop, Land and Environment Coordinator for the Quad Riders ATV Association of British Columbia (ATV/BC). “This will help position current riders and sport enthusiasts as well as the sector concerned with off-road vehicles,” he added. Wardop also said that the association believes in trails community – equal trails and in trails tourism as well.

Bill 13, 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.

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS) has been asking the Province for many years to implement this legislation. BC is the only province that does not have it and many feel that it is necessary. The proposed ORV Act is a result of extensive consultation and represents a fair compromise for all user groups.

“In BC and particularly in our area we have a great many trails that are being enjoyed by hikers, bikers, horse-back riders and ATVs. In those situations we need to ensure that the few that cause problems are identified and censured. In our region we also have areas that are sensitive environmentally and some trails that have been restricted to vehicular traffic, these conditions need to be respected as well, said Brad Hope, RDOS Director of Area H.  “This legislation will not solve all the problems and eliminate all the areas of conflict but it is a very welcome first step in the process,” he added.

Bill Allinott, president of the Vermilion Trail Society – membership that are the stewards of the 114km portion of trail spanning from Brookmere to Osprey Lake believe the proposed legislation will be good for all concerned.  “Yes, I support Bill 13,” he said.

An amendment to the Special Accounts Appropriation and Control Act establishing the ORV Trail Management Sub-account is included in the proposed ORV Act. 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.

The implementation of Bill 13, the ORV Act, including registration provisions, is anticipated for the fall of 2014.