A serious ATV accident in Whitehorse demonstrates the need for tougher safety rules when riding offroad vehicles, says New Democrat Steve Cardiff.
Three people were sent to hospital on Saturday after their Polaris Ranger flipped and rolled several times while driving down a steep hill near the Fish Lake Road and Alaska Highway intersection, said RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Don Rogers.
Two of the riders were injured and one is suffering from “serious facial injuries,” said Rogers, who couldn’t confirm if the riders were wearing helmets.
However, Cardiff wants the traffic incident to remain on people’s minds when a legislative committee travels the Yukon this summer to gather public input on new ATV regulations.
“There’s the need for proper training and rules and regulations for who can and who can’t and under what circumstances people should ride an ATV,” he said.
“And mandatory helmet use, for me, no pun intended, is a no-brainer.”
Cardiff has been pushing for helmet rules for six years, he said.
“I don’t understand why the government hasn’t regulated this already,” he said. “People pushed back hard on seat belts, now just about everybody wears seat belts.”
There will always be people who don’t obey the law, he said.
“But eventually they’re going be educated. They’re either going to become educated by the law or they’ll become educated by their peers.”
“(The law) helps people understand there is a risk.”
The 31-year-old driver of the Ranger, which can seat either two or four people depending on the model, may have been drunk and could be charged under the criminal code, said police.
A committee to study possible ATV rules is set to begin this summer. Environment Minister John Edzerza, who has defended self-regulation for ATVers, was recently appointed chair of the committee.
“This pretty much highlights in my mind, and I hope it highlights it for the minister who has been appointed to the committee, how important an initiative this is,” said Cardiff.
“I wish for everybody a speedy recovery, but this is a safety issue for the public,” said Cardiff. “This is an opportunity to see something substantial happen.”
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