I would like to correct a factual error in Mr. Van Soest’s letter. Under the B.C. Forest Service Road Use Regulation Section 12, all motorized vehicles operated on forest roads must carry liability insurance of at least $200,000. This includes motorcycles, ATVs, ATCs, side-by-sides, and other motorized vehicles. Insurance is not optional, as the letter suggests. This provision applies whether the vehicle is licensed, or licensable, or not.
Other provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act apply as well, including the requirement to wear an approved helmet, exercise due care and attention, travel at a speed consistent with road conditions, and comply with sections 224 to 229 regarding impaired operation of a motor vehicle.
I see violations of those requirements every weekend when I travel forest roads.
The suggestion in the letter that we don’t need additional regulation, and instead should be relying on “personal responsibility” seems at odds with the damage being done to Crown land now, by persons exercising their “freedom to roam."
I’m not a member of the coalition mentioned, but am regularly saddened by the destruction caused by off-road vehicles on Crown land.
Wetlands and riparian zones seem to be particularly appealing, and susceptible to damage. I find it additionally offensive when that damage happens within community watersheds. So far, education and training have not been successful. Indeed, I note that the amount of damage inflicted on the environment seems to be increasing, particularly in the Vernon and Kelowna community watersheds.
Absent a quick reversal of this trend, I’m going to have to support additional regulation of off-road vehicles. If something isn’t done soon, we will eventually see more restriction, and even closures, necessary. Compared to what has happened in the U.S., proper licensing and vehicle identification seems a small price to pay.