The approval of a new law that would make helmets mandatory for all-terrain vehicle riders in Alberta has been delayed, a year after the provincial government said legislation would be introduced soon.
In July 2008, Minister of Transportation Luke Ouellette promised to introduce legislation by fall 2008 or spring 2009.
The government is still drafting potential legislation and has set no timeline for introducing it, a spokesperson said. Any new helmet rules would likely only apply to ATV use on public land.
The delay is frustrating user groups like the Alberta Off-Highway Vehicle Association, which wants legislation as soon as possible.
Helmets save lives, said past president and director Bob Smith. However, he concedes that good legislation takes time.
"Legislation needs to be well thought out; panic type regulation, always scares me," he said. "Could it have happened sooner? Very likely."
Of the 100 Albertans who died while riding ATVs between 2002 and 2008, 64 percent were not wearing helmets, according to statistics from the Alberta Centre for Injury Control and Research.
In late July, a 20-year-old man from the Calahoo area northwest of Edmonton died in a crash. He was not wearing a helmet, and police said alcohol may have contributed to the crash.
Michael McGrath from Edmonton credits a helmet for saving his life while he was riding his ATV five years ago.
"On the ice, I wiped out and was actually knocked out unconscious and for about three hours, really didn't know who I was," he said. "If I wouldn't have had the helmet on, chances are I wouldn't be here today. When my head hit that ice, it hit that ice."
McGrath and his wife own Alberta Cycle Motorsports, a motorcycle and ATV dealership in Edmonton. As a long-time rider and business owner, he always encourages his customers to buy a helmet.
"As a business owner, if I don't have you next year as a customer because you didn't wear a helmet, then that's not a good thing."