RCMP alarmed about ATV death, injuries

“Kids take the family Honda and play follow-the-leader all through town”


Drivers of all-terrain vehicles should drive slowly, carry only one passenger and wear helmets to avoid harming themselves or others, police say.

Last week, a death and a serious injury occurred in two separate ATV incidents in Nunavut.

On June 8, a 24-year old man was killed in Pond Inlet when he was thrown off his ATV face-down on a rock not far from the community’s new sewage lagoon.

On June 13, a 10-year old girl, who was not wearing a helmet, fell off a moving ATV near Arviat, seriously injuring herself. She’s now in the intensive care unit of the Winnipeg Children’s Hospital.

In another incident earlier this month, a pair of kids in Pond Inlet went off a bicycle jump in their ATV. One fell off and broke his leg.

Last year, the RCMP in Arviat noted five serious injuries resulting from ATVs, and as a result, during the winter, police joined a municipal steering committee to see what bylaws could help reduce ATV-related injuries in the community.

“Around quarter after 11 every night, kids take the family Honda and play follow-the-leader all through town until the curfew at 12 o’clock, so we’ve been targeting that,” said Cpl. Bill Mooney of the Arviat RCMP detachment.

All ATV drivers who are 14 must now pass a written safety test with 25 questions before they take to the roads.

Police are also using a hand-held radar device this summer to keep ATVs at under 40 km an hour.

If a bylaw is broken, police can also seize an ATV until the driver settles the fine, which can range from $25 to $75.

Seizing ATVs has turned out to be a much quicker and efficient way to collect fines than through the court system or justice-of-peaces.

“Most people want their ATVs back,” said Cpl. Mooney.

Nunavut’s All-Terrain Vehicle Act says only two people are allowed on an ATV. The driver and passenger are both supposed to wear helmets.

But many times only the driver wears a helmet.

Cpl. Gavin Nash of the Pond Inlet RCMP unit would like to see all ATV drivers and passengers wearing helmets, but he would rather see a receipt for the purchase of a helmet than collect a fine.

“We just want people to be safe,” he said.

Cpl. Nash said ATV drivers in Pond Inlet generally respect age and speed limits, although overloaded ATVs are a common sight, but he cautions against drinking while driving an ATV.

Police believe alcohol was a contributing factor in the recent fatality.

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