Thursday , 18 August 2022

Alberta RCMP and the Injury Prevention Centre promote off-highway vehicle safety

Summer means off-highway vehicle (OHV) season in the Lakeland Region and Alberta. With the increased use of quads, dirt bikes, and other all-terrain vehicles (ATV) across the province comes the increased risk of OHV-related injuries and harm.

Though OHVs are often used for work or recreational purposes, the Alberta RCMP and Injury Prevention Centre remind operators that they are still motor vehicles that are subject to traffic laws.

According to the Alberta Traffic Safety Act, OHVs include any motorized transportation made for cross-country travel on natural terrain, including four-wheel drive vehicles, low pressure tire vehicles, motorcycles and related two-wheel vehicles, amphibious vehicles, ATVs, utility terrain vehicles, miniature motor vehicles, snow vehicles, and minibikes.

On average, approximately 19 people are killed while operating OHVs in Alberta every year (Alberta Transportation, 2021). From 2002-2019, 59 per cent of all ATV-related fatalities involved the consumption of alcohol. Thirty-nine percent of all fatalities were a result of head injuries; of those who died as a result of a head injuries, 68 per cent were not wearing a helmet at the time of the incident (Injury Prevention Centre, 2021).

“ATVs by design are prone to rollovers. Keep your ATV upright by practicing active riding, use an appropriate sized machine, don’t ride double on a single person ATV and ride sober. And don’t forget your helmet,” Dr. Kathy Belton from the Injury Prevention Centre said.

Riders are advised of the following safety tips in order to minimize OHV-related injuries to themselves and others:

  • Wear a CSA-compliant helmet and proper protective gear. The fine for not wearing a helmet is $162.
  • Never consume alcohol, cannabis, or other drugs while operating an OHV. It is dangerous and illegal.
  • Only ride OHVs during daylight hours and in fair-weather conditions.
  • Avoid steep, slippery, or unstable terrain and remain on marked trails.
  • Ride in areas you are familiar with or with someone who knows the lay of the land.

“The Alberta RCMP is working to enforce OHV safety this summer,” Insp. Chris Romanchych from Alberta RCMP Traffic Services said. “Last year, there were unfortunately 12 OHV-related fatalities across Alberta RCMP jurisdictions, as well as another 173 OHV collisions resulting in serious injury. These vehicle types require experienced handling and should only be operated when sober. Practicing safe OHV driving behaviors can significantly reduce harm or serious injury.”

For more OHV safety information, please visit the Government of Alberta website.

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About Arthur C. Green

Arthur C. Green is an award winning journalist and is from Whitbourne Newfoundland. Green graduated from the CNA Journalism Program. Arthur also studied Business Marketing and Political Science at Memorial University in Essex England and St. John's Newfoundland. Green has worked for such organizations as CBC, CBC Radio, NTV, Saltwire, Great West Media, CKLB Radio, River Radio, Vista Radio, and Postmedia. He also loves Jiggs Dinner and can fillet a Codfish.