District Passes New Off-Road Vehicle Bylaw

off-road vehicleTrent Ernst, Editor

After years of work, the District’s proposed Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) bylaw is finally law.

However, the District requires time to implement the requirements of the bylaw.

The new bylaw will replace the current ORV bylaw, originally passed in 2003.

On November 10, 2009, the Provincial government announced an ORV Management Framework. The announcement of the ORV Management Framework sparked interest by the Tumbler Ridge ATV enthusiasts and discussions began on proposed changes to the existing District of Tumbler Ridge Off-Road Vehicle Bylaw.

An ATV Sub-Committee was formed, including representation from Council, RCMP, Bylaw Enforcement, Grizzly Valley ATV Club and the Ridge Riders Snowmobile Club. Meetings were held regularly to discuss the changes with the coming Provincial ORV Management Framework in mind.

However, while bits and pieces of the provinces’ framework were passed into law, it received final reading last year.

As the District’s new bylaw was designed to reinforce the Province’s bill, the District put their bylaw on hold until the Province’s bill was passed.

The biggest change for riders will be the trails that are allowed to be ridden under this new bylaw. The town has opened up a new trail on the west side of Mackenzie Way for easier access to out of town trails, limiting the speed on these trails to 20 km. While this route has historically been used by ATVs, it has not been legal to ride.

Over the next few months, the District is planning on installing new signage, traffic control, trail markings and establishing trail access.

During this planning and construction period, the District requests all off-road vehicle users to be aware of the new bylaw and use care and caution when using the designated trails. There will be limited access on some of the trails until all controls have been installed. Most notably, the new ORV crossing on Mackenzie Way in between the Pioneer Loop entrances is closed until construction is complete.

A new trail map for ATVers has been created. Trail maps can be picked up at Town Hall or at the Fire Department.

Operators of off road vehicles within the District must carry third party liability insurance of at least $2,000,000, have the ORV registered with ICBC, and have an ICBC number plate or sticker displayed on the back of the ORV.

Operators must not exceed 20km/h on all trails and cannot operate the ORV in a careless, reckless or negligent manner that endangers, causes injury to a person or property, or in a way that causes a nuisance. Approved helmets must be worn by operators and passengers.

When a designated trail crosses a road it will always be at a controlled intersection (with a stop sign or traffic light). The off-road vehicle operator must come to a full stop before crossing the road, and yield to all vehicle and pedestrian traffic while crossing.

The Off-Road Vehicle Bylaw is available on the District website at www.districtoftumblerridge.ca.