Off-highway vehicle riders must wear helmets in Alberta

Helmets will become mandatory gear for Alberta riders of off-highway vehicles (OHVs) as of May 15, the provincial government announced today.

When on public land, riders of ATVs, snowmobiles, dirt bikes, four-wheel-drive vehicles and side-by-sides must wear helmets or face a fine of up to $155.

Farming and ranching operations involving OHV use will be exempt under the existing Occupational Health and Safety code. An exemption also applies when riding on First Nations lands and when on the rider’s own property or on private property with the owner’s permission.

In addition, those of the Sikh faith who feel helmet use is not compatible with their religion and who are wearing a turban, will be exempt.

In today’s announcement, the Alberta Transportation department said most injuries involving OHVs are head injuries.

From 2002-13, there were 19 OHV-related deaths per year, on average and in 77 percent of injuries while using OHVs in that time period, riders were not wearing a helmet.

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Each year in Alberta, OHV-related emergency room visits number almost 6,000 and in 2015, more than 1,000 children younger than 16 were injured while riding OHVs, according to government statistics.

Brent Hodgson, president of the Alberta Off-Highway Vehicle Association, welcomed the law.

“The government of Alberta struck the right balance with this legislation,” he said.

“Head injuries are the No. 1 risk to OHV riders. Making helmets mandatory will mean more riders will stay safe and continue to enjoy riding in Alberta’s beautiful landscapes.”

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  • Happy Farmer

    “They struck the right balance”

    I guess farmers, ranchers, first nations, and people of faith have less head injuries than other people do when involved in an accident. I did not know that!! I am glad to be better informed now!!

    This law is a politically correct, left wing idea. Gimme a break. Either wear helmets, or don’t. Much simpler law to enact and enforce.

  • old grouchy

    Oh the joys of a nanny state!!!
    Re: kids getting hurt – – – maybe some small amount of discipline might help reduce that. – – – Sorry – – – I forgot that that isn’t allowed either. Aw shucks – – – – never fear – – – understanding that rights go with responsibilities is a foreign concept today.

    • Harold

      If you were the Insurance Company, would you lobby the government to produce the Laws which protect you from injury payout loss? It is a “nanny Insurance industry” and not a “Nanny state” but this “nanny” only cares about profit and cares less about individual freedoms. The government only rubber stamps the will of the Insurance Company while their propaganda rocks the public to sleep. Once Law, even the police protect the Insurance Companies from profit losses’ – It’s a nice corporate “gig” if you can get it working for you. “Illegal to get hurt” brings massive profit gains for the costs of freedoms and fees. A purely governmental action is totally the same. When the majority public tell the government to “go jump in the lake” the government in turn by no choice tells the Insurance Industries to do the same. Government and Industry are truly this fragile against the majority. This is the foreign concept that you are really speaking of and why propaganda is used to divide any majority into fragments. The BS starts with – “if it saves one life” – excludes the costs of all freedoms and fees – and concludes; “it is worth it”. How often have we heard this before?

  • RobertaA

    Conspiracy theories abound it seems. Thank goodness it is in the insurance industry’s interest to prevent accidents and injuries. Imagine if it were the other way around! Of course they can’t seem to prevent basic stupidity. 19 die a year? Imagine the outcry if these were planeloads of passengers.

    This legislation saves kids lives. It is not the kids fault if their parents are clueless and reckless. Speaking out of self-interest, the deaths may be tragic ,but it is the head injuries that cost us taxpayers a fortune. These are lifelong injuries that usually require the taxpayer to fund the cost of care for the rest of the former rider’s life. Forget insurance. Many of these people don’t have any. We pay and we pay millions for care for the majority of them.
    As far as the Nanny state.. its about time! Watch an episode of Supernanny. She rocks! Everyone should have her over for a weekend. Bring on the Supernanny state by all means. Elect her Prime Minister. She would give all these “freedom to be fools” a kick in the butt.

    • Harold

      Who is saying that there is or was a conspiracy?
      “19 die a year”?; how many didn’t; a hundred….a thousand….10 thousand…. a million? “Stupid” calculations don’t know but would confine everyone for the sake of 19 who would have died anyways. You further reason as if associated “Imagine the outcry if these were planeloads of passengers”; can “planeloads” be saved by wearing Helmets? Is it helpful to imagine something that didn’t happen? Were you in that airplane? Perhaps the illusion of a plane crash brings forth solid reasoning that we all should live underground for safety; the owners of homes struck by aircraft would likely agree and perhaps even a Nanny or two. Be that as it may, explain how a helmet reduces injuries or death, broken neck, blunt force trauma, broken bones, paralysis etc, to keep them out of the medical system. If skull fractures and severe concussions are the only concern, how many were there in Alberta in the past decade and what have those two injuries cost? Do you believe that only a head was injured per event? There are numerous studies which conclude that those wearing protective gear (helmets) perform more aggressively leading to greater injuries due to the users false sense of security. It is very easy to call the injured stupid from the comfort of your own chair and to paint wonderful pictures about what should have been as if to believe that your thinking could have controlled another’s actions. Ever said “I knew better but I did it just the same?; you are never in complete control of your own. Perhaps we all need to be carefully scripted and edited and directed and allowed do-over’s upon our acting failures like they do on the real, real, reality TV. It seems that you have a position that to gain a glimpse into reality we only need to turn on our TV and even to “elect” what we see on TV. I wonder if they ever Air all of Miss Supper-Nanny’s failures. Hook, line, and sinker. A reality color-dotted LED TV screen is: “the freedom to be fools”. Perhaps you need a Nanny or a Nanny State to govern you, but to other adults who have taken on personal responsibility and the risks associated with it, they would find this unacceptable and offensive. When do you suppose that one should leave the skirt tails of their Nanny; when the Nanny can eliminate death and injury? I’m sure that TV has the answer that “rocks”.
      In the mean time i would suggest that to save us future legislation you could always invite the neighbor into to your yard and home to point out and monitor everything that is wrong with you and your thinking. It is the same as inviting the government in but different because in a freedom earned, you can kick the neighbor out. Is the prospect of you becoming more government owned and controlled your Ideal?