Off-road vehicle registration rules frustrating owners

If you own an off-road vehicle and and are caught on Crown land without the newly-required registration and insurance information, you could be fined up to $230.

Many threw out or lost the relevant documents before the new rules came into effect.

ATVs like these now need to be registered and insured with the provincial government. (John Fitzhugh/Sun Herald/Associated Press)

There is growing frustration amongst owners of off-road vehicles  in B.C. over new licensing regulations.

Under the new rules owners of an off-road vehicle such as ATVs, dirt bikes and snowmobiles caught on Crown land without the proper registration and insurance information could be fined up to $230.

ICBC requires proof of ownership back to the original purchaser of the vehicle and a $48 registration fee.

The requirement was introduced as a voluntary process in November 2014, and was made mandatory in June 2015. 

Steve Wheeler, the owner of No Limits Motorsports in Squamish, says there has been no end to complaints from his customers. 

Snowmobiles, dirt bikes and ATVs all fall under the new registration rules. (Newfoundland Snowmobile Federation)

"It's a little challenging, right? 'Cause to show the proof of ownership, it's hard when people have no documentation to prove their ownership."

He says many owners threw out or lost the relevant forms before the new rules came into effect, because they simply weren't needed unless owners planned to drive their off-road vehicles on-road.

Benefits to registering

The province says registering will help recover stolen vehicles and aid in search and rescue efforts, and despite the frustrations, there are no plans to relax enforcement.

Even with the complaints he's heard from customers, Wheeler agrees the new rules will improve the off-roading experience in B.C.

"It helps the government know how many machines are actually out there, so trail access is going to be a lot better. They're going to know that there are hundreds of thousands of these vehicles around B.C.," he said.

A full list of the documents required to register off road vehicles, old and new, can be found on ICBC's website. Off-road vehicles do not require registration to drive on private property.

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