Province of British Columbia
The Province of British Columbia currently does not have legislation in place which regulated use of ATVs or some off highway vehicles on private lands or public lands other than those designated as Forestry Roads. B.C. does have a All Terrain Vehicle Act, however it's scope is currently limited to vehicles which can be registered and used for both highway and off-highway use, such as 4 wheel drive vehicles.
The B.C. government has indicated that legislation changes are pending which will require registration and insurance of ATVs operated on public lands (Crown Land) and will additionally regulate its use, however no definitive time frame has been indicated as to its date of implementation.
Off highway vehicle use on BC Forestry Roads is regulated by the British Columbia Forestry Service. For more information, download a copy of the BC Forestry Road Regulations
Summary of legislation regulating ATV use
The following regulations covers the operation of ATVs on public lands designated as "Forestry Roads" and is regulated under the BC Forestry Act.
A minimum age of 16 is required to operate an ATV on BC Forestry Roads. Children under the age of 16 may ride as passengers, provided that the Off highway vehicle is designed to carry a passenger.
Children under the age of 16 currently may operate an ATV appropriate to their size and age on other public lands provided that it does not cross, intersect or make use of lands designated as BC Forestry Roads.
A valid drivers license is required for all operators of ATVs while riding on public lands designated as BC Forestry Lands. Individuals not holding valid drivers licenses may ride as passengers provided that the off highway vehicle is designed to carry a passenger.
All operators riding on public lands designated as BC Forestry Roads are required to carry a minimum of $200 000 in liability insurance.
All operators and riders are required to use DOT approved helmets while riding on public lands designated as BC Forestry Roads.
Other General Prohibitions
As covered under other BC statutes, it is unlawful to operate an off highway vehicle on private lands or crown lands leased to third parties without prior permission of the land owner.
As covered under the BC Traffic Act, it is unlawful to operate an off highway vehicle on public roadways or highways unless the vehicle meets all safety and emissions standards, and is registered and insured for operation on roadways.
These regulations include designated BC forestry roads but do not apply to individual OHV trails or other public lands not designated as forestry roads. Be aware that many OHV trails cross or make use of BC forestry roads, so it is important to be aware of your surroundings when unlicensed users are in your party.
Liability insurance is affordable and insures third parties from possible damage caused by ATV use. Police, conservation officers and forestry officers have jurisdiction to levy fines and possibly impound non-compliant ATVs, so its important to follow the law.
OHV Registration / Permit
British Columbia does not currently require off-highway vehicles to be registered, however the provincial government has indicated that legislation is pending that will require registration. No timeframe is available on when this will be implemented.
Non-residents are recommended to possess valid registration and decals from their home province or state.
For more information, download a copy of the BC Forestry Road Regulations