Info for the ATV Rider
About the Quad Riders ATV Association of British Columbia (ATVBC)
The Quad Riders ATV Association of British Columbia (ATVBC) was formed in 2001 to provide leadership in off-road vehicle (ORV) use. ATVBC promotes safe and responsible, environmentally sustainable use of ORVs and advocates for publicly accessible, mixed use trails across British Columbia.
ATVBC sits on provincial committees and working groups to lobby for legislative developments which will increase riding opportunities with a focus on safe and responsible use, educating riders on proper riding techniques, safety, gear, trail etiquette, and current legislation to ensure they are riding legally, as well as provide basic awareness about recreating in the backcountry.
ATVBC provides its 40+ member clubs with grant funding for trail maintenance and development projects for the benefit of all trail users, hosts educational meetings and public outreach events, develops educational tools and safety messaging, liaises with rural communities and local government to facilitate ORV tourism by improving access to trail networks, public roads and road crossings with long term goal of establishing a quality destination riding experience as a viable tourism product for our rural communities, creating local jobs and improved economy.
Join a Local Club
We are fortunate to live in beautiful British Columbia as we have access to some of the best backcountry riding anywhere. Unfortunately, our continued access isn’t assured, more people are enjoying a myriad of outdoor recreational pursuits placing increased pressure on the environment we all treasure.
By joining a local club, you are choosing to support the ATV/SxS sport in BC to ensure we have areas to ride for future generations.
Local clubs are the heart and soul of ATVing in British Columbia. It’s at the club level where you’ll find like-minded people who enjoy riding the trails and backroads in your area, contribute to your community and work to keep trails open, safe and environmentally sustainable for the benefit of all trail users.
Contact the club in your area for more information on how you can get involved in the fun- click for listing of local clubs
In addition to supporting the safe, responsible use of ATVs and the construction and maintenance of trails, ATVBC members receive significant discounts on products and services, such as safety courses from certified instructors, insurance with Got Toys, Backroad Mapbooks products, Cloverdale Paint products, hotel stays with Choice Hotels and Icey-Tek products… with new sponsors and benefits added regularly!
Insurance discounts – save up to 25% with ATVBC membership, additional 10% senior discount (with ATVBC partnered insurer)
Effective Nov. 1, 2015, ORV owners must register vehicles used on Crown land and clearly display their ICBC number plates or stickers. Registration services are provided by ICBC’s Autoplan Brokers for vehicles prescribed under the ORV Act (e.g. snowmobiles, off-road motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles and side-by-side ORVs).
To use or operate an off-road vehicle (ORV) on Crown land, the owner must register the ORV and clearly display its ICBC number plate or sticker on the vehicle. As well, the operator must carry a copy of the Certificate of Registration (or Transfer of Ownership).
- Off-road vehicle registration mandatory on Nov. 1, 2015 Press Release
Register an ORV or complete transfer of ownership transactions at any Insurance Corporation of B.C. (ICBC) Autoplan broker. To find a broker near you, visit ICBC’s Find a Service map and enter your address.
Some exemptions apply. Find out more:
- ICBC ORV registration
- ICBC toll-free at 1-800-663-3051
- Off-Road Vehicle Act and the ORV Regulation
Read summary of ORV registration at ICBC Bulletins (#11 and #13).
Find information about incidental access to highways:
- ICBC bulletin #MV1445: Vehicles restricted to incidental highway operation (PDF, 196KB)
- ICBC bulletin # MV1815: police-issued operation permit (PDF, 53KB).
Types of ORVs that require registration
Registration under the Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) Act is required for snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles (‘quads’), motorcycles and side-by-side ORVs used or operated on Crown land for work or leisure purposes.
Snowmobiles registered under the repealed Motor Vehicle (All Terrain) Act must re-register under the ORV Act to maintain continuity of ownership and contact information.
An ICBC-issued Transfer of Ownership is also required to maintain continuity of ownership (e.g. if the ORV is sold or gifted to another person).
Owners of out-of-province ORVs must register them in their home jurisdictions if registration or licensing is available there (e.g., ORVs from Alberta). Out-of-province ORV owners who do not have registration or licensing available in their home jurisdictions (e.g. ATVs from Saskatchewan) must carry proof-of-ownership documentation when riding on B.C. Crown land.
Read more in Section 7 of the ORV Regulation.
Get the insurance you need!
The insurance requirements in BC can be confusing as there are two different insurances involved. Registration of your machine is mandatory – when you register your machine at ICBC you receive registration papers and a license plate the same as you do for your car (with the option of choosing a metal license plate or a sticker to affix to your machine)
If you operate an ORV on forest service roads, you’ll need $200,000 in third party liability insurance. This may be obtained from ICBC or private insurance providers such as Oasis/Got Toys (much cheaper to purchase this insurance privately, when we last compared it was over $600 from ICBC for the same liability insurance you can purchase privately for around $70) – when you purchase from Oasis you receive ATVBC membership discount, plus senior discount. ‘
If you operate an ORV on or across highways, you’re required to obtain ICBC’s Basic Insurance (for highway crossings controlled by a stop sign or traffic light or when loading and unloading an ORV in a parking lot, or for any other on-highway operation as permitted by an operation permit issued by local RCMP) – this insurance allows you to put your wheels on the highway (public roads) and has nothing to do with private lands, crown lands or forest service roads.
If you purchase ICBC basic insurance, you receive an expiry decal for your plate the same as you do for your car license plate.
On all other Crown land, liability insurance is voluntary but recommended.
- ICBC Basic Autoplan Insurance Coverages
- Off Road Vehicle Registration
- Improved Road Access for ORVs
- Using ORVs on Resource Roads
ORV Safety & Alerts
New safety requirements under the Off-Road Vehicle Act and its regulations include,
- Turning on lights in low-visibility conditions,
- Wearing an approved safety helmet when using an all terrain vehicle, motorcycle or snowmobile.
- Wearing seatbelts when using a side-by-side or other on-highway vehicles
- Adult supervision of children and ORVs used by children are age appropriate.
More details about ORV Safety under the ORV Act.
Spark arrestors under the Wildfire Act:
- All off-road vehicles are required to have a spark arrestor installed during wildfire conditions. A spark arrestor is a small screen or other device that is installed in an engine exhaust system to stop sparks from exiting the tailpipe.
Canadian Quad Council (CQC) Trailbox Talks – informational safety articles and videos
Canadian Off-Highway Vehicle Distributors Council – rider info, sales reports & stats, safety materials
List of CASI/CSC Certified Safety Instructors providing ATV / UTV / SxS Safety Training in British Columbia
ORV Legislation & Regulations
The new Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) Act and Off-Road Vehicle Regulation is central to implementing the ORV Management Framework, along with opportunities to connect rural communities and ORV trail systems through improved road access, where appropriate.
The Motor Vehicle Act Regulations, Division 24 regulates the use of ORVs on public roads
Be Sure You are Ready to Ride
Wear your Safety Gear, always, when you ride
- Approved Helmet
- Eye protection
- Over the Ankle Boots
To carry at all times
- Registration, Insurance and Driver’s License
- Owner’s Manual
- Tire Repair Kit (plugs and tools)
- Air Compressor
- Tow Rope
- First Aid Kit
- Tool Kit
- Duct Tape
- Space Blanket
- Waterproof Matches & Fire Starter
- Water and Food
Optional Items but recommended
- GPS, Maps, Compass
- Extra Gas
- Rain Gear
- Extra Fuses
- Saw, Axe
- Warm Clothes
- Extra Engine Oil
Be Sure You and Your Machine are Ready to Ride
The following tips are to assist you, however your Owner’s Manual is the go to info source for your machine
Inspecting the mechanical condition of your machine before each ride is important in order to minimize the chance of Injury, Damage to Equipment and/or Being Stranded as well as to ensure long-term enjoyment of your machine. Some info to help you through the Pre-Trip Inspection
Tires & Wheels
- Tire Pressure — be sure to follow the recommended tire pressure (see owner’s manual, decals, or side of the tire)
- Condition of the tires — check for cuts and/or abrasions
- Check lug nuts and bearing by rocking each tire
Controls & Cables
- Where are the controls and what they do
- Throttle, Brakes (Hand/Foot/Park), Shifter, Winch, 2/4 wheel drive, Diff Lock
Lights & Electrics
- Are all lights working properly
- Ignition, engine stop switch
Oil & Fuel
- Check your Oil (see owner’s manual)
- Is there fuel in the Fuel Tank
- Air Filter, is it clean
- Radiator and Cooling Fluid (see owner’s manual)
Chassis, Drive Train, Suspension
- Cracks or damage in frame, general condition of undercarriage
- Axles and boots
Trail etiquette refers to the good manners to be observed by all trail users. Trail use is a privilege that should not be abused or disrespected. Making trail etiquette a priority enables everyone to enjoy the outdoors and have an enjoyable time while being safe and courteous. Remember that trail users are there for similar reasons: to enjoy nature and to have fun outdoors.
Trail etiquette is required on all trails, but it is especially important when traveling on mixed use trails. ATVBC Trail Ambassadors should educate trail users on best trail sharing practices to ensure safety.
“Wheels yield to heels” is an easy to remember etiquette slogan. ATV, dirt bike and snowmobile riders yield to all other trail users while bicycle riders yield to hikers and walkers and everyone yields to horseback riders.,
Every trail user is responsible for their own safety. Accident and injury prevention is the priority.
ATV riders should:
- Be aware of their driving skills and abilities and drive accordingly
- Be aware of other trail users
- Know and obey posted trail rules
- Heed all hazard signs – they are there for trail user safety
- Stay to the right of the trail (except when passing)
- Slow down at corners
- Allow faster riders to pass
- Give a clear warning signal when passing
- Move over when letting others pass
- Yield to other trail-users when entering or crossing a trail
- Stay on the trail (respect the environment by not venturing off the trail)
- Respect wildlife – do not disturb plants or animals – this is their home; you are the visitor.
- Do not ride through sensitive habitats like meadows, swamps
- Minimize crossings of creeks and other water bodies
- Avoid late night riding near populated areas
- Respect the rights of landowners
Environmental Stewardship – Tread Lightly
- Travel Responsibly
- Respect the Rights of Others
- Educate Yourself
- Avoid Sensitive Areas
- Do Your Part
TOP 10 WAYS TO MINIMIZE IMPACT WHEN CAMPING IN THE OUTDOORS
- Whenever possible, use existing campsites. Camp on durable surfaces and place tents on a non-vegetated area. Do not dig trenches around tents.
- Camp a least 200 feet from water and other campsites. In backcountry areas not open to vehicles, camp at least 200 feet from trails.
- Pack out what you pack in. Carry a trash bag and pick up litter left by others.
- Repackage snacks and food in baggies. This reduces weight and the amount of trash to carry out.
- For cooking, consider using a camp stove instead of a campfire. Camp stoves leave less of an impact on the land.
- Observe all fire restrictions. If you must build a fire—use existing fire rings, build a mound fire, or use a fire pan. Use only fallen timber for campfires. Do not cut standing trees. Clear a 10-foot diameter area around the site by removing any grass, twigs, leaves and extra firewood. Also make sure there aren’t any tree limbs or flammable objects hanging overhead.
- Allow the wood to burn down to a fine ash, if possible. Pour water on the fire and drown all embers until the hissing sound stops. Stir the campfire ashes and embers until everything is wet and cold to the touch. If you don’t have water, use dirt.
- Detergents, toothpaste and soap harm fish and other aquatic life. Wash 200 feet away from streams and lakes. Scatter gray water so it filters through the soil.
- In areas without toilets, use a portable latrine if possible, and pack out your waste. If you don’t have a portable latrine, you may need to bury your waste. Human waste should be disposed of in a shallow hole six to eight inches deep at least 200 feet from water sources, campsites or trails. Cover and disguise the hole with natural materials. It is recommended to pack out your toilet paper. High use areas may have other restrictions, so check with a land manager.
- Following a trip, wash your gear and support vehicle to reduce the spread of invasive species.
TREAD LIGHTLY!’S TIPS FOR RESPONSIBLE CAMPING
Minimizing your impact on the environment when camping is critical. Click here to view more tips to tread lightly when traveling to your destination, selecting your site, and leaving it better than you found it.
Tread Lightly – Tips for Responsible Camping
ATV Use on Public Roads
Amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations, Division 24 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
- Travel on any highway anywhere local police authorize, within the limits set out in 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
All other Motor Vehicle Act requirements on highways have not changed (e.g., the requirement for ICBC’s basic insurance and a valid driver’s licence). When in doubt, ORV operators should contact local law enforcement to inquire whether an operation permit is required. Police-issued operation permits continue to be free.
- Find out about vehicles restricted to incidental access (PDF, 196KB)
- Insurance Corporation of B.C. toll-free: 1-800-663-3051
- Transporting ORVs on Highways
The B.C. government continues to implement improved road and highway crossings, in stages, under the Motor Vehicle Act. Improved incidental access will better connect B.C.’s rural communities and support a first-rate ORV trail network.
On public roads and highways, the Insurance Corporation of B.C.’s basic insurance continues to be a requirement for all motorists, including ORV owners. ORV riders who opt for incidental access to highways will also require ICBC’s basic insurance.
ATV Use on Resource Roads (Forest Service Roads)
Be safe when sharing a resource road with industrial vehicles – check out this brochure about off-road vehicles using resource roads:
The basic requirements on a Forest Service Road continue to apply, such as a valid driver’s licence and having a minimum of $200,000 in third-party liability insurance. On all other Crown land, third-party liability insurance is voluntary but recommended.
ORV Tourism & Economic Diversification
Properly managed ATV destination tourism utilizes existing infrastructure and sustainable trail networks to maximize the economic development benefits for the whole community while respecting environmental and cultural values.
The Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) Act was intended to create safe and more convenient incidental access to public roads and highways to better connect BC’s rural communities and support a first-rate ORV trail network, and to allow local governments to expand their trail networks to take advantage of economic development opportunities by way of tourism.
For an ORV trail network to be a viable tourism product, it must provide riders with the ability to access food, fuel, and lodging for extended trips, which means riders must have ride-in access to services in communities along the route. Many rural communities are now issuing the operation permits required to access these services along a designated route check out the North Island 1000, however currently a separate operation permit from each jurisdiction or community is required. Please check with local ATV club or community regarding operation permits for a specific region.
- ORV Tourism: Aligning with Provincial Strategies & Legislation
- ORV Tourism Backgrounder
- Strategic Framework for Tourism in BC
- BC Trails Strategy
- ORV Economic Impact Reports
Crown Land Alerts & Closures – Know Before You Go
For information about alerts and closures on Crown land, helpful contacts include:
- BC Wildfire Service – wildfire bulletins, bans and restrictions
- River Forecast Centre – flood warnings and advisories
- Avalanche Canada – avalanche bulletins and danger ratings
- Orders of the Provincial Health Officer – Gatherings and Events
- Rescission of Permission – Organized Events under the Land Act
- Motor Vehicle Prohibition Regulation under the Wildlife Act
- Recreation Sites and Trails BC – Alerts, Closures and Warnings
Wildlife Encounters in the Backcountry
Wild Encounters in the Backcountry – ORV adventures in the backcountry can be exciting and exhilarating. Understanding how to avoid conflict with wildlife is imperative so you don’t get a little more adventure than you bargained for… read more
WildSafeBC – Reducing Conflict Where We Play
WildSafeBC – Camping in Wildlife Country
How to Shut Down Motorized Recreation in 10 Easy Steps
A humorous look at what NOT to do while riding!
How to Shut Down Motorized Recreation in 10 Easy Steps
GEAR UP, GET TRAINED, GO RIDE!
The ATVBC Dealer Outreach Program is made possible with funding from the BC ORV Trail Fund and the generous support of our sponsors at Got Toys Insurance, Backroad Mapbooks and the Canadian Off-Highway Vehicle Distributors Council.