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By: Robert Janis

Canadian OHV Distributors Council

The Canadian OHV Distributors Council--A Voice for the
Off-Highway Related Businesses and Enthusiasts of Canada

Continued from page 1

Motorcycle shows for 2007.
Motorcycle shows for 2007.

“Together, these principles provide a strategic concept for OHV development now and for the future,” said Farquhar. “Encourage family and friends to join a rider club. Practice safe, responsible riding. Ultimately, get involved, so you can protect your right to ride and where to ride.”

Some of the special programs administered by COHV include an ATV Riders Course and an OPEN ROAD Insurance Program.

The rider’s course is a 5 ½- to 7-hour training program operated by the Canada Safety Council (C.S.C.) certified instructors. “The curriculum, which is based on field-tested techniques, provides a fun and orderly way to learn proper ATV operation,” said Farquhar. “The rider learns about controls, reading terrain, turning, and climbing hills. There is also a separate ATV Rider’s Course available for children under the age of 14 whose parents specifically permit them to ride ATVs.

The OPEN ROAD Insurance Program offers insurance at competitive rates for all makes and models of off-highway vehicles. It provides a 24-hour emergency claims service and a “Pay As You Ride” payment option.
COHV has three staff members who are registered lobbyists with the federal government. The organization influences the Canadian legislature as well as local governments and other decision makers with face-to-face meetings, presentations, lobbying, letter-writing campaigns, safety messages through public service announcements, print advertising, safety brochures, and posters.

COHV has been asked many times to participate in studies and various provincial reviews of ATV legislation. “These studies and reviews pertain more to the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) and challenges being dealt with by field officers during ATV seasons,” said Farquhar. “COHV prepares submissions outlining our position on trail development and what and how to protect the environment and develop productive legislation that allows clubs, federations, and families to ride and enjoy Canada’s scenic forests, lakes, and vast countryside.”

Supporting Local Clubs

As a national organization the COHV works with local, provincial, and national rider clubs and federations across Canada. It supplies information, safety materials, and advice on OHV safety, education, and training. Moreover, the group works with clubs and other entities in building relationships with local and provincial government ministries and offices on issues concerned with ATV trails, riders, and legislation pertaining to OHV recreation.

Moreover, COHV has a sustaining and project funding grant program that is used by national All-Terrain Vehicle and Off-Road Motorcycle Rider Federations to help develop and implement rider safety training, education and environmental initiatives. “Since its inception the COHV sustaining and project grant fund has allocated close to $6 million to qualified OHV rider federations across Canada,” said Farquhar. The fund is supported by COHV member companies including Arctic Cat, BRP (CAN-AM), Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Polaris, Suzuki,, and Yamaha. “By allocating these funds COHV and its member companies are enabling rider federations to take a leading role when it comes to reinforcing the importance of education, training and protecting the responsible interests of local OHV club members,” she added.

The group also works with off-road motorcycle groups, the Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations, Canadian Trails Federation, the Rider Training Institute, and the Canada Safety Council to promote training, education, and safety. It also works with groups in the United States including the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC), the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). “We collaborate with those groups on discussions and decisions around technical standards for OHVs, on effective OHV trail planning and guidelines around safety and training legislation. Laws vary between provinces and states so we feel we benefit from a collaborative relationship with groups in both Canada and the United States. In fact, we all benefit from sharing results on studies, safety materials, surveys, and statistics. We all want the same thing---o know that families are enjoying safe, fun ATV recreational activity on well maintained trails,” said Farquhar.

The most urgent issues being worked on through the collaboration with off-road groups in the United States include:

  • Where to ride
  • Being environmentally aware
  • Showing consideration for trailside residents.
  • Training and education.
  • Allowing youth to ride.

Websites

The COHV/MMIC uses a number of websites to educate members and the public about ATV and off-road motorcycle riding. The site for COHV is www.cohv.ca and the site for the Motorcycle & Moped Industry Council is www.mmic.ca. A youth ATV safety campaign is promoted at www.dontblamejake.ca. Information on the ATV rider’s course can be found at the Canada Safety Council website at: www.safety-council.org.

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