“…hardly a weekend goes by without a call to an ATV incident” say RCMP

RCMP officers across the province have been attending an increasing number of all-terrain vehicle (ATV) collisions.

“Every year, the RCMP responds to numerous fatal and serious injury collisions involving ATVs,” says S/Sgt. Ben Parry of the Nova Scotia RCMP’s Traffic Services Unit. “However, we’re hearing from various detachments across the province that over the past few years, hardly a weekend goes by without a call to an ATV incident.”

Provincial government statistics show that there’s been an 18% increase in off-highway vehicle (OHV) registrations between 2020 and 2021. There are approximately 50,000 registered OHVs in the province.

The data shows there are three main causes of major OHV events: impaired driving, speed, distracted operation of the vehicle, or a combination of all three,” says S/Sgt. Parry. “Improper use of protective equipment, or not using it at all, is another risk.”

The exact number of OHV collisions is unknown. Those that occur on private properties and trails are likely to be under-reported due to how the Motor Vehicle Act defines mandatory collision reporting; it applies to public roadways only.

“We want Nova Scotians of all ages who choose to ride OHVs to be safe and responsible,” said Public Works Minister Kim Masland. “A reminder to OHV users to wear a helmet, observe speed limits when using the trails, and keep a safe distance between you and other trail users.”

“When you get on an off-road vehicle, safety needs to be your number one priority,” says S/Sgt. Parry. “Otherwise, your life – and the lives of others – is at risk. Ride sober. Don’t speed. Pay attention. Operate the machine according to your skill level. And wear safety gear, including a proper helmet.”

S/Sgt. Parry also encourages OHV users to understand and obey the laws governing OHV use.

“Those who violate the Off-Highway Vehicles Act could face a penalty of $200-$2,000 for a first offence and have their vehicle seized. And if found to be impaired, they can be charged under the Criminal Code.”

If those 16 and under are found to be operating OHVs out of compliance with the Off-Highway Vehicles Act or the Motor Vehicle Act, parents or guardians are responsible.

“Fall is a beautiful time of the year to explore Nova Scotia,” says S/Sgt. Parry. “While OHV operators are encouraged to have fun while enjoying the outdoors, our message is to ride safely – for their sake and the sake of others.”

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