Safe and responsible use of British Columbia’s backcountry got a boost in Nov. 17, with the upcoming launch of the registration system for off-road vehicle (ORV) use, as well as increases to safe access for highway crossings for recreational off road vehicles.
The new registration system is currently voluntary for operation on Crown land, but it will become mandatory on June 1, 2015. The combined cost of the number plate and registration fee is $48.
Effective Nov. 17, off-road vehicle owners can obtain a one-time registration for ORVs that 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.
These changes, made possible by the passage of the Off-Road Vehicle Act on March 24, support the province’s Off Road Vehicle Management Framework (ORVMF). The framework will help British Columbians get out and enjoy the beauty of the province’s backcountry and ensure ORVs, including snowmobiles, are driven in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.
In addition, changes to the Motor Vehicle Act regulations, effective Nov. 17 will allow ORV operators greater access to highways, including the ability to:
• Cross a highway without having to obtain an operation permit if the crossing is controlled by a stop sign or traffic light.
• Cross a highway where local police authorize through an operation permit.
• Load or unload in a parking lot without an operation permit.
• Obtain an operation permit with an extended term of up to two years.
To date, the ORVMF has been implemented in stages. Future regulations will follow that will flesh out ORV rules of operation, safety standards, penalties and conditions of use for a wide range of modern ORVs, including snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, or quads, dirt bikes and side-by-sides (Rhinos and Argos).
• An estimated 200,000 off-road vehicles are used in the province.
• Snowmobiles have been registered in B.C. since the 1970s.
• ORVs are used in a variety of sectors in B.C., including farming, ranching, forestry, oil and gas, mining, sport, tourism and transportation, as well as search and rescue.
Why register now?
There are a number of good reasons to register under the ORV Act now rather than wait for the mandatory date of June 1, 2015:
• ORV riders who choose to register now start to benefit from this program earlier.
• For example, if your ORV is stolen, a registered vehicle can more easily be tracked back to you as the registered owner.
• The ORV number plate is a dual purpose plate – if you register and a get the number plate under the ORV Act, it may also be used for highways crossings if the ORV is also licensed and insured under the Motor Vehicle Act.
To demonstrate you are the legal owner of the vehicle, one or more of the following is required:
• A New Vehicle Information Statement or a Certificate of Origin if purchased new, but never registered previously.
• A Bill of Sale or other document acceptable as a Bill of Sale, such as a Transfer Tax Form (APV9T) signed by seller – Transfer Tax forms are widely available from any Autoplan broker.
• A completed B.C. Consumer Taxation Branch Gift of Vehicle Form (FIN 319).
• For ORVs imported from the United States, a Title Certificate; Form 1 or B15 Accounting Document.
• For ORVs imported into B.C. from another Canadian jurisdiction, the previous registration documents.
• In the absence of the above, a sworn statutory declaration (MV1484) will be required with information about how you came into possession of the ORV and your attempts to get the one or more of the other documentation as described above.
If you’re uncertain on what documents you need to register your ORV, contact your local ICBC Autoplan broker who can help figure out which document fits your situation best.