Public health officials in Thunder Bay warn of ATV-related injuries
Thunder Bay health unit says half the injuries reported in 2015 were to people aged 10-29
The region around Thunder Bay, Ont., sees many more emergency room visits due to injuries sustained in incidents involving all-terrain vehicles, compared to the rest of Ontario, public health officials say.
"In 2015, emergency department visits for ATV injures were two-times higher for the Thunder Bay district compared to the rest of Ontario," Rachel McKay, a public health nurse with the Thunder Bay District Health Unit was quoted as saying in a written release.
"This is a really important issue for us as it is a popular activity for many people in our region."
The health unit's warning comes as the outdoors season gets into high gear in northern Ontario. Officials added that year-over-year data showed that about half the reported 150 emergency room visits each year involved people aged 10 to 29.
"Although legislation has been implemented in some areas of Canada, ATV-related incidents continue to be a significant cause of injury," the health unit's statement said.
In Ontario, changes in provincial bylaws in 2015 allowed more types of all-terrain vehicles to be driven on the sides of provincially-controlled highways, mandated the use of helmets and set age restrictions for passengers on ATVs.
The health unit also advised riders to check local bylaws to see whether their vehicle is permitted on local roadways or not.
In addition, public health officials said the following can help reduce the risk of injury:
- Always wear an approved helmet and other safety gear;
- Never carry a passenger on a single rider ATV;
- Get the proper training and licensing before riding;
- Never ride while under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- Supervise riders younger than 16;
- Follow the speed limits.