Drivers of all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles and dirt bikes in B.C. will be subject to new rules being phased in over the next two years, the provincial government announced Tuesday.
The vehicles will have to be registered and licensed, operators will have to wear helmets, and new youth-safety and environmental requirements will have to be met, according to a statement from provincial Tourism Minister Kevin Krueger and Environment Minister Barry Penner.
"We've heard much from off-road vehicle (ORV) groups, the public, and other stakeholders, including the chief coroner," said Krueger. "There is a broad consensus that it is time for ORV regulations."
All ORV riders using Crown land will require one-time registration with a licence plate for their machines, in addition to wearing helmets and using lights at night.
"Age-appropriate safety measures and adult supervision will be required for young riders," the statement said, although no age restrictions were specified.
All ORVs will require registration, licensing and insurance coverage at time of sale and re-sale.
New standards for mufflers will minimize the noise impact on wildlife and spark arrestors will reduce the risk of forest fires, according to the statement.
"The requirement to display a licence plate on ORVs will make it possible for conservation officers, park rangers and law enforcement agencies to identify those who are damaging sensitive habitat or harassing wildlife, so they can be held accountable," said Environment Minister Barry Penner.