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Most ATV accidents preventable: OPP


Ontario Provincial Police say that, after a number of ATV fatalities in northeastern Ontario this season, people must remember the importance of ATV safety.

OPP Const. Rob Lewis said there have been three collisions this summer, resulting in five fatalities.

"It takes a big toll on the families with those losses," Lewis said. "It's unfortunate we have to investigate any of these."

Lewis said the rules regarding ATVs change depending on where you are in the province and where you are riding.

"Legislations fall under the Highway Traffic Act and the Off Road Vehicle Act," he said.

"So depending on if the ATV is on Crown land, the laws do apply separately. On a highway, it's no different than a motor vehicle -- they must be 16 years of age, there must not be more than two people on it unless it's manufactural designed for (more than) two people."

Lewis said riders should be age 16 if riding on a highway. On Crown land, riders can be age 12.

The Ontario Federation of All Terrain Vehicles attributes the cause of the accidents to driver error, which includes speed, inexperience, not wearing a helmet or driving impaired.

Executive director Shari Black said it's important riders choose a machine suitable to their size.

"They're driving a machine where they don’t have the knowledge of how to use it necessarily or the machine is too big for them," Black said.

"So what tends to happen in these accidents is that the bike rolls, and then the person's crushed because it’s a 1,000-pound machine."

Black said most ATV crashes occur on roadways and that most riders drive much safer on trails.

"I think the reality is that on roads you're dealing with other vehicles so vehicle might not see you or you're pulling over because you're letting someone pass you," she said.

"You go off the shoulder and you hit gravel and you roll."

She said many aren't aware of the varied speed limits when it comes to roadways.

"If you're in an 80 zone, the maximum you're able to go is 50 km an hour," Black said. "If you're in a 50 or under zone, the maximum you're allowed to go is 20 km an hour."

Black said a part of the problem is that there's no mandated training in Ontario.

"In Ontario, a youth can get a licence to operate a boat, required by law," she said.

"As it stands, youth over the age of 12 can drive an ATV on a trail without any training whatsoever and that just blows my mind."

She said the federation is finalizing an online training program for ATV riders age 12 and up. She said the platform will be rolled out in October. Top Stories

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