Alberta is introducing legislation that would require people to wear helmets when operating off-highway vehicles (OVH) on public land.
The proposed law would apply to ATVs, snowmobiles, dirt bikes, four-wheel drive vehicles and other machines used for cross-country travel.
“Right now, there is no law requiring anyone of any age to put on a helmet when they are out riding an OHV,” Alberta Transportation Minister Brian Mason said Monday.
The proposed legislation would not apply to anyone using off-highway vehicles on private property, including for farm and ranch work, or on First Nations and Metis land.
“I want to reassure the farming and ranching community that the amendments for OHV helmets that we are proposing will not apply to farming and ranching activity,” Mason said.
Watch below from June 10: As Allie Miller reports, many ATV enthusiasts have been wearing helmets for years ahead of the proposed legislation.
Mason said such legislation would reduce unnecessary deaths and injuries from off-highway vehicle crashes.
“I was critically injured after being thrown off an all-terrain vehicle and I wasn’t wearing a helmet,” Denise Pelletier, the survivor of a traumatic brain injury, said. “I was flown by air ambulance to the Foothills Hospital and rushed in for brain surgery and put into an induced coma.”
Pelletier had to relearn how to walk and talk.
“I didn’t see any good things in life after my traumatic brain injury and I certainly didn’t feel lucky to have survived. I was severely depressed those first few years and I even contemplated suicide at one point,” she said. “Today I live a very full and complete life, one that I embrace and I love. And I don’t for a minute take any of it for granted.”
The Injury Prevention Centre at the University of Alberta says 19 people are killed each year in the province while operating off-highway vehicles.
The centre says more than 1,000 children under 16 were injured in the province last year while riding on such machines.
If passed, the legislation would take effect in the spring of 2017 and would be accompanied by a public awareness campaign.
Anyone caught not wearing a helmet could face a $155. fine.
With files from Jennifer Ivanov and Sarah Kraus
© 2016 The Canadian Press