Summer means off-highway vehicle (OHV) season!
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% were not wearing a helmet at the time of the incident (Injury Prevention Centre, 2021).
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,” said Insp. Chris Romanchych, Alberta RCMP Traffic Services.
“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.”
Dr. Kathy Belton, of the Injury Prevention Centre, noted that, “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!”
For more OHV safety information, please visit the Government of Alberta web site.