Alberta Health Services (AHS) is reminding Albertans to keep all-terrain vehicle (ATV) safety in mind ahead of the Victoria Day long weekend. AHS says that ATV safety needs to be a priority this spring and summer.
A statement from AHS released May 16, 2022, states, “ATVs pose a risk to all users — and particularly those under 16 years of age, who have not yet developed the strength, skills or judgment needed to safely operate an ATV. The risk of serious injury is high.”
AHS says they support the Canadian Paediatric Society recommendation that children and youth under 16 years of age should not operate an ATV even if it is a child-sized or youth model.
Between 2015 and 2020 there have been 563 ATV-related hospitalizations and a total of 12 ATV-related deaths for children and youth 16 and younger in Alberta. In those five years there have been 6,908 ATV-related emergency department and urgent care centre visits in Alberta.
To reduce the risk of ATV injury, AHS recommends taking the following precautions:
• Wear a proper-fitting, safety-approved helmet when operating an ATV. In addition to a helmet, wear a jacket, long pants, goggles, boots and gloves.
• Learn or refresh your ability to use controls, ride terrain, turn and climb hills by taking an ATV operator course.
• Don’t use alcohol or other drugs before or while riding.
• Check that your ATV is in good working condition (e.g. brakes, safety equipment, avoid using three-wheeled ATVs) and equipped with an appropriate headlamp.
• Don’t be a passenger or carry a passenger on a single-person ATV.
• Be aware of hazards around you and ride during daylight hours.
• Follow posted signs, stay on the trails, and be aware of the weather and trail conditions.
• Take a cellphone or working two-way radio with you, as well as a first-aid kit. Let people know where you’re going and when you expect to be back.