Anyone riding an off-highway vehicle on a County road is now required to wear a helmet. The new bylaw was approved by council Monday, and Manager of Regional Enforcement Services Stuart Rempel says it’s been a long time coming.
“We’ve been waiting patiently for a number of years for the province of Alberta to put some legislation into place for operators of off-highway vehicles with respect to safety helmets, but they haven’t. We put it in to our new bylaw and thought it was a prudent move going ahead for safety.”
Rempel adds that injuries and deaths involving off-highway vehicles have increased to “epidemic proportions” in the County, with several already this year. According to the Alberta Centre for Injury and Death Prevention, not wearing a helmet is a factor in 68 per cent of fatalities.
ATVs are only allowed on County roads if they follow certain rules like staying to the extreme right of the road in a single file and only between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. The fine for not wearing a helmet will be $200, but Rempel says bylaw officers are more interested in promoting safety.
“We prefer education first. It’s been a long time that people have been able to [ride without a helmet] so we’re going to be out there; we do have an off-highway vehicle patrol that goes throughout the area. We’re concentrating on the trails and the Dunes, but they go wherever the problem areas are throughout the entire County and the region.”
Rempel explains that when the bylaws were updated over a decade ago, there wasn’t enough data to show the need for a helmet bylaw. They were also updated last May to include provisions like fines for riding on paved County trails.