Helmet law proposed for off-highway vehicles

Helmets for riding on off-highway vehicles could soon become mandatory in Alberta.
Helmets for riding on off-highway vehicles could soon become mandatory in Alberta.

Spotlight Staff
Helmets could soon be required for driving off-highway vehicles on public land under a proposal by the provincial government.

Transportation Brian Mason introduced proposed amendments to the Traffic Safety Act (TSA) to require recreational users of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), snowmobiles, and dirt bikes to wear helmets when heading out on the trail, states a government news release dated Nov. 28.

“For years, Albertans have been asking their government to take action to reduce the unnecessary injuries and deaths caused by head injuries on OHVs,” Mason says.
“If passed, the proposed amendments would help prevent injuries and keep families safe and whole.”

Farm and ranch operations would continue to be exempt under the Occupational Health and Safety Code. Proposed amendments to the TSA would specifically exempt private property, and remains consistent with existing OHV laws under the TSA.

First Nations and Metis Settlement lands would also be exempt.

User groups also support the proposed changes.

“Helmets are the first piece of safety equipment we strongly recommend to our users,” says Brent Hodgson, president of Alberta Off-Highway Vehicle Association.
“We applaud the government for introducing these amendments and hope to see the proposed helmet legislation become law in Alberta.”

In September 2016, the government consulted Albertans and stakeholders about how to improve safety for people using OHVs.

More than 2,200 Albertans responded, with 65 per cent saying helmets should be required for everyone who rides an OHV.

Quick facts and data from the Injury Prevention Centre:

-On average, approximately 19 people are killed in Alberta every year while operating OHVs.
-Between 2002 and 2013, there were 185 people killed while riding ATVs in Alberta.
-74 people died from head injuries (40 per cent).
-Nearly 80 per cent of those fatalities involved people not wearing helmets.
-Each year in Alberta there are nearly 6,000 OHV-related emergency room visits.
-In 2015, more than 1,000 children under 16 were injured while riding OHVs.

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