Licence plates mandatory for off-road vehicles

NANAIMO – Dirt bikes, quads and ATVs need to be registered by Sunday (Nov. 1).

Those who enjoy riding in the back country will be legally required to register their off-road vehicle with ICBC starting this weekend.

Beginning on Sunday (Nov. 1), anyone who owns an off-road vehicle such as a dirt bike, side-by-side, quad or snowmobile will be required insure and plate it through an ICBC-approved broker. The requirement applies to those who intend to use off-road vehicle on crown land, decommissioned or active logging roads or to cross a highway. The rules also applies to anyone loading and unloading their vehicles in a parking lot.

Darrell Dale, insurance broker for Nanaimo Insurance, said there has been an increase in people registering for insurance in the last few weeks.

“Now that the Nov. 1 deadline is here we are seeing a lot more people coming in and trying to figure out how to register them [ORVs] in their name,” he said.

Those who do not register their off-road vehicles could potentially face a fine of $5,000 and impoundment.

Dale said despite the recent increase in registrations, he had expected more than 35 people to come into his office.

“We know there are a lot more than 35 ATVs out there,” Dale said. “But we also know that there are a lot more insurance brokers out there as well, but we thought there would more of a crush coming in later October.”

The new system was introduced by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations last year and is part of the Off-Road Vehicle Act, which replaced the Motor Vehicle Act.

A metal license plate that is the same size as a standard trailer plate will be issued to owners and in cases where a vehicle cannot hold a metal license plate, a decal will be provided. The cost of registration, plates and insurance decal is $96 plus taxes, however those who purchased an off-road vehicle before 2010 will not need to pay taxes.

David Baumann, owner of Tuff City Powersports, said that while the registration process is extra red tape, it will help with the recovery of stolen off-road vehicles.

“The positive will be … every bike will be registered with a VIN number,” he said. “Off-road bikes are stolen a lot easier because most people don’t write the VIN numbers down.”

For more information about registration, please visit or visit an ICBC insurance broker.