A COVID conversation with ATVBC GM Kim Smith

“The risk is not so much in riding but in the activities that precede and follow the event.” — Kim Smith

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Kim Smith smiles for a picture.

ATVBC continues to deliver services across B.C., providing membership benefits (insurance, retail discounts, advocacy, club and member support) as well as continued engagement on local, regional and provincial trail initiatives, planning committees, government relations, grant funding, land access, environmental stewardship, ORV tourism and safety issues for the benefit of members and all riders in B.C. — Photo courtesy Kim Smith

Many ATVers are asking themselves a similar question these days: “Can I ride during the COVID-19 pandemic?” Well, that depends on the situation. To clear things up, we asked Kim Smith, general manager of ATVBC, some COVID-related questions to help bring clarification for riders eager to get out on their quads.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted ATVBC?

Transitioning to video conferencing in place of face-to-face meetings and the cancellation of our large events: spring meeting in Chilliwack, Poker Run at Logan Lake, and AGM that was to be held in conjunction with the Kootenay Rockies ATV Club Jamboree at Cranbrook in July.

How is your club adjusting to social distancing?

Distancing is relatively easy for an outdoor activity such as ATVing. ATVBC has published guidelines based on government directives and has recommended that people not ride if they are uncertain of their ability to operate within those guidelines.

Can people get out and ride?

Each club operates independently and makes go/no-go decisions based on its own circumstances. Some clubs are quite active and have been very proud of their ability to ride safely within the published guidelines.

How has membership been affected?

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, ATVBC was experiencing incredible membership growth, with January 2020 memberships up 43% over January 2019. Since the pandemic began, our membership numbers have held steady and we hope once restrictions relax we will again grow our membership.

ATVBC has added additional options for people who wish to join or members needing to renew. With many insurance agents and dealerships closed and clubs meeting virtually—in addition to online registration and renewal—ATVBC can also register and renew members over the phone with payment via credit card or e-transfer. Call 250-554-7823 to join or renew.

Are you still having meetings? How are they being conducted?

GoToMeeting, Skype and Zoom are our friends and are being used extensively.

Are you able to work on trails?

While possible in theory, no major work is being done. In some areas, clubs are finding that approvals for trail work, which are required to be obtained from Recreation Sites and Trails B.C. (RSTBC), are taking longer to obtain. Other areas with shovel-ready projects and approvals in place are preparing to move forward with their trails work as soon as they are able to.

You can support trail work by purchasing a raffle ticket with proceeds going to trail maintenance. Go to atvbc.ca/raffle for a chance to win a Polaris SxS or $15,000 cash.

What advice do you have for avid ATVers who are anxious to get out on the trails and go for a ride?

Read and understand the guidelines as they may apply from time to time. The risk is not so much in riding but in the activities that precede and follow the event. Have a plan for what you will do if something goes wrong so that you can deal with the problem without incurring more risk.

Is there anything else you’d like to mention?

ATVBC fully supports the efforts of the B.C. Government and all officials to keep us safe. While we are all anxious to play outdoors, we will only do so while adhering fully to published guidelines.

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