PSA: Keep ATV safety top of mind this long weekend

submitted by Alberta Health Services

Ahead of the Victoria Day long weekend, Alberta Health Services (AHS) is reminding all Albertans to make all-terrain vehicle (ATV) safety a priority this spring and summer.

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.

Between 2015 and 2020, children and youth in Alberta have experienced ATV-related injuries leading to ED/UCC, hospitalization and death.

• There have been 6908 ATV-related emergency department and urgent care centre visits in Alberta.
• There have been 563 ATV-related hospitalizations for children and youth 16 and younger in Alberta.
• There have been a total of 13 ATV-related deaths for children and youth 16 years and younger in Alberta.

AHS supports the Canadian Paediatric Society recommendation that children and youth under 16 years of age should not operate an ATV, even a child-sized or youth model.

Albertans 16 years of age and older are urged to take the following precautions to reduce the risk of injury when riding an ATV:

• 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.

Visit MyHealth.Alberta.ca for more information on ATV safety and injury prevention.