Open letter to Lake Laberge MLA Brad Cathers:
Working solely from the reports in the newspaper and on the radio, it appears you have voted against the mandatory use of helmets while operating an ATV.
Your arguments seem to focus on the infringement on individuals’ rights and the inconvenience of helmet use.
When I heard these opinions, I had a flashback to the discussions before seat belt laws for motor vehicles were enacted. Very similar thoughtless arguments were raised then.
Fortunately, the decision-makers of that era considered the real evidence and made a wise choice which has saved lives and prevented injuries.
As I am sure you learned as part of the standing committee hearings, evidence indicates that ATV riders without helmets are significantly more likely to die in accidents than helmeted riders.
Riders without helmets are also significantly more likely to sustain a major traumatic brain injury and/or injuries to the neck and face than riders who do use them.
Most riders who die are 15-to 24-year-old males. Should the kid without a helmet survive the traumatic brain injury, he will live an entirely different life than the one we may have predicted for him before the accident.
The current estimated cost of a lifetime of care for a brain-injured youth is more than $4 million. That’s a bit more than the cost of a helmet and certainly overshadows any inconvenience in wearing one.
Government could probably even afford some enforcement for that amount.
Cathers, your job is to make the best decision based on top-notch evidence and in the interest of all of society. PIease do what is necessary to correct your terrible mistake before another kid dies.