May 17, 2019 6:00 pm
Updated: May 17, 2019 6:52 pm

Don’t be one of the 14 deaths this year: Alberta Injury Prevention Centre on ATV safety

The May long weekend is the unofficial start of the ATV season. But with all the fun on the quad comes the risk of injury or worse. Margeaux Maron explains.

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It’s ATV season in Alberta, and you can bet riders will be hitting the trails this May long weekend. Across the province, it’s a popular hobby.

“Albertans are about 12 per cent of the population of Canada but we buy about 25 per cent of the ATVs, so there’s lots of ATV activity in Alberta,” said Don Voaklander with the University of Alberta Injury Prevention Centre.

READ MORE: Teen airlifted to Calgary hospital after ATV rollover near Linden

The statistics have remained steady over the years. On average, 14 Albertans lose their lives annually after an ATV collision, and Voaklander is hoping riders will think about safety this May long.

In addition to the deaths, about 550 people will wind up in a hospital bed, while another 5,500 will require emergency room visits.

The University of Alberta Centre for Injury Prevention says ATV injuries and death statistics have been steady over the years.

Tonia Gloweski / Global News

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“There’s so many deaths from rollovers of these machines, and if you don’t understand how to manage them properly, going up and down and over obstacles, you can get yourself into trouble.”

Quad rollovers are the main concern, as adult-sized quads weigh between 400 and 800 pounds. Not only can it cause head and neck trauma, but also suffocation.

READ MORE: Alberta NDP proposes ATV, off-highway vehicle helmet law

“A lot of people get trapped underneath and get their face pressed into dirt or water and die that way,” said Voaklander.

Watch below (May 23, 2018): A little girl was able to accomplish an incredible feat this weekend. Emily’s mother was pinned under a quad after an accident but the 10-year-old didn’t give up. Quinn Ohler has their story.

Voaklander points to a number of ATV safety training courses offered in Alberta to give drivers the skills they need to safely maneuver through tough obstacles.

But the statistics paint a picture of careless drivers paying the price.

More than half of ATV fatalities occur after the driver had been consuming alcohol, while 80 per cent of fatalities due to head injuries from an ATV rollover happened when the driver wasn’t wearing a helmet.

“We find a lot of ATV injuries come from a blow to the head, so wear a helmet, you can’t go wrong,” said Voaklander.

Watch below (June 28, 2018): A study from the Ontario-based SickKids hospital shows more than 100 reports of ATV-related injuries and fatalities were documented by Canadian physicians over a 12 month period. Demi Knight reports.

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