On August 18, 2012, Jeff Mohr was elected the new president of ATV/BC, an organization that is over 2,600 members strong. The avid outdoorsman sat down with RidersWest to discuss his experience as an ATVer, what's going on with ATV/BC and the importance of safety while enjoying the outdoors.
What is ATV/BC all about?
ATV/BC was formed in 2000 in Green Lake, B.C. ATV/BC is all about getting out there and encouraging people to ride safely, talking to the government and talking with other outdoor enthusiasts. We want to work together to try and ensure we can all enjoy the outdoors. With us and the ATV community, that means riding our ATVs out in the wilderness, be it on roads or trails, but yet still having others like cyclists, horseback riders and hikers able to enjoy their activities too. We like to share what we do—which is why any trails that are built or maintained by ATVers are open to everybody. I became a director in 2007.
What's new with ATV/BC?
We want to continue to progress with some of the initiatives we've started with government—including working with the Regional District of Okanagan/Similkameen, Tunkwa Lake Recreation Area, and registration and licensing—to ensure ATVers are represented. We're involved with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Recreation Sites and Trails steering committee on trail usage. ATV/BC will continue to work with other outdoor enthusiasts to ensure protocols are in place and, again, to ensure the opportunity to share and use the trails so that we can all enjoy our respective outdoor experiences.
We're going to work on better communication with our members. We really need to get out and show everybody exactly what ATV/BC is doing and communicate with them and let them know so they can share with their friends. Hopefully by doing this, everyone will understand that ATV/BC is a viable organization that wants to make sure we do have the opportunity to ride our machines and our ATVs for a long time from now—and this includes our children and our grandchildren.
What are the benefits of being a member of ATV/BC?
By being a member of ATV/BC, the voice we have with government and other organizations increases, thus helping to ensure recognition and our ability to continue representing ATVers throughout the province. For the individual member of ATV/BC, reductions in insurance premiums and costs associated with the Certified Rider Courses and the completion of the Certified Rider Course also reduces insurance premiums. The ATV/BC website has a list of certified instructors for ATVs and UTVs, both CSC and CASI. For the clubs, ATV/BC has a master liability policy that covers non-competitive club activities as well as a policy for directors and offices. As well as the business side, we cannot forget the social side of ATVing—and through the clubs there are rides and events like jamborees and poker rides that many people look forward to each year.
What are the biggest safety concerns that ATVers face out there?
One of the biggest things is wear a helmet. Some people still don't think wearing a helmet is critical. Your head is pretty valuable, so a helmet is number 1. Also, taking a Certified Rider Course and riding within your abilities is important. ATVs are what we call rider-active—a shift in your weight allows you to do different things on your machine safely. Not everyone has the same abilities. So we're saying we want people to ride within their own abilities and to the capabilities of their machines. Rollovers are another huge thing we talk about lots in our safety courses. We want to make sure that people understand how to shift their weight so they don't have a rollover.
What are some important safety tips you can offer?
When you're riding your machine, you always have to be ready for the unexpected, and that's what we teach in our rider training courses. You can never protect a person 100 per cent, but you can teach them the techniques and skills to operate their ATVs safely. One of the biggest things we preach is that if you're not comfortable with something, get someone to help you take your machine through an area that you're not comfortable with. Don't let peer pressure force you into something that you're not comfortable with.
How did you first get involved with ATVing?
I've been ATVing for about 12 years now. I got started one summer when my brother lent my wife and I their machines. We rode them one summer, went back and borrowed them again the next summer, and then the third summer we bought our machines and have never looked back.
What is your favourite part about ATVing?
My favourite part is getting out with my wife. It's also about enjoying the outdoors, meeting new people and the chance to talk to other trail users. I love travelling around the province. We've been to Elkford, Revelstoke, Vancouver Island, McBride, Valemount and Fort St. John, and we still have lots of the province to look at—which is our goal in future years. We live in such a great province and there are so many opportunities to ride and get out and enjoy the outdoors. We're planning on riding for a few years yet.
Finally, what are you looking forward to most as the new president of ATV/BC?
I'm really looking forward to my year working with everybody and doing the best we can to get the message out, promote safety, promote what ATV/BC does and share with all our members the good parts of ATV/BC. As well, we want to encourage our members to share their experiences and knowledge with their friends and explain to others what ATV/BC does. Communication with the clubs and ATV/BC’s members is critical if the organization is to grow and provide a strong voice for the sport of ATVing.