Do Motorcycles Need Winter Tires in BC?

Coquihalla Motorcycle Memo
We’ve received many questions from motorcyclists wondering how winter tire regulations affect them. In a nutshell, here’s how motorcyclists should approach winter driving in BC.

Motorcyclists are not required to use winter tires, as winter tires are not available for most motorcycles. Instead, motorcyclists should use common sense when deciding to drive on BC highways between October 1 and March 31 (or until April 30 on select highways, including mountain passes and rural routes in high snowfall areas).

BUT: Motorcyclists should avoid driving in bad weather, and when Environment Canada or your weather app says bad weather is on the way. If the temperature gauge is near or below freezing, or road conditions include snow or ice, you should not be on the road.

And remember, police may turn all vehicles around, including motorcycles, if they think conditions are unsafe.

We know no one wants to be caught on two wheels in the middle of a snowstorm. Please use good judgment when heading out on those roads. For an excellent source of highway information and weather forecasts to help plan your ride, consult DriveBC.

winter tires for motorcycles
Winter is coming… Shift into Winter
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Page 1 of 9 comments on “Do Motorcycles Need Winter Tires in BC?”

Leave a Reply to Hoby Revington Cancel reply

  1. When we ride adventure tour routes through the interior of BC /Alberta in fall and spring, we are constantly looking at conditions on BC roads and specifically the high mountain passes. If -1* temperatures are forecast we choose another way. Of course there is the odd exception but with current technology you should be able to skirt around problem areas. Police are always good at nicking you for being stupid.

  2. I was thinking of taking a lengthy ride the end of September, and although the longterm forecast looks promising, it made me wonder if I would have hassles from the cops if I ride into October.

    • Hello Rick,

      While we are responsible for creating the legislation – it is the RCMP who is responsible for enforcing it.

      Motorcyclists should use common sense when deciding whether to drive on B.C. highways between October 1 and March 31.

      Motorcycles should not be on the road:

      in bad weather
      when the forecast is for bad weather
      if the temperature is near or below freezing
      if road conditions include snow, slush or icy conditions

      Police can turn all vehicles around and ticket them, including motorcycles, if they think conditions are unsafe. Hope that this helps.

      • I wonder how many people have been misinformed by this page and Tim. Why would they ticket anyone for having to turn them around? If motorcycles aren’t required to have snow tires by law, the cops must treat every type of vehicle the same and turn all around or none. You’re creating ambiguity where there is none. The only way they can ticket you is if you go around the barrier setup by the RCMP to close the road. The title says it all so please stick to the facts.

        I’ve rode at -32F over the Coq to Hope BC and yes lots of snow. I’ve done this in the worst snow storm in 100 years in 1981 from Edmonton to Calgary. I drive over 60mph to use the centrifugal force of the spinning wheel to keep me upright. I’ve ridden 1000cc and 750cc in these conditions. I think you should keep creating the legislation and leave the enforcement of laws on the books to the cops. Tim don’t ride bikes if you’re chicken. That is when you do get hurt.

  3. Wow ,
    Nice to learn this . Thanks .
    Recently on a crossing of the border .
    The Canadian gaurd gave me a hard time about not having snow tires on my DRZ .
    Asked me what I was going to do when I got pulled off the road for not having proper tires .
    As of Oct 1 , the signs say ALL Vehicals on BC roads need snow rates tires .
    Since then I’ve been still riding , but wondering where I stood if I had to argue to some one like a cop about still being on the road .
    I’ll print this and keep it with me .
    Thanks again
    Oh by the way , I’ve recently found out that there are winter rates dual purpose tires out there for sale . I may buy a set . Since I ride my dualnpurpose bike in spring and fall mainly and my road bikes in summer .

  4. You are lucky in BC . No common sense here in QuÉbec . We pay full price for year’round license but can’t drive between 15 décembre ti’l 15 mars . The SAAQ simply rob us .