November 10, 2014 - 10:08 AM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - Owners of off-road vehicles are expected to start registering their vehicles beginning Monday, Nov. 17, however there is a buffer zone in place to ensure everyone has an opportunity to get it done before it becomes manditory.
To provide plenty of notice and allow for a smooth transition, the new registration system is currently voluntary for operation on Crown land, but 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 off-road vehicles 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 in the province.
These changes, made possible by the passage of the Off-Road Vehicle Act on March 24, 2014, support the Province's Off Road Vehicle Management Framework. The framework will help British Columbians get out and enjoy the beauty of the province's backcountry and ensure off-road vehicles, 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 off-road vehicle 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 Off-Road Vehicle Management Framework 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 (e.g., Rhinos and Argos).
* An estimated 200,000 off-road vehicles are used in the province.
* Snowmobiles have been registered in British Columbia since the 1970s.
* ORVs are used in a variety of sectors in British Columbia, including farming, ranching, forestry, oil and gas, mining, sport, tourism and transportation, as well as search and rescue.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014