Thursday October 23, 2014

Campaign promotes ATV helmet use


As spring takes hold and summer stops seeming like a faraway dream, authorities of all stripes are reminding everyone to act with safety in mind.

Last week saw the launch of an ATV helmet safety campaign by the Saskatchewan All Terrain Vehicle Association (SATVA), a reminder from SGI about watching out for motorcycles, the RCMP’s annual bike rodeo to teach youngsters bicycle safety and a police crackdown on impaired driving, not wearing or improperly using seat belts, distracted driving and aggressive driving in honour of Canada Road Safety Week.

On May 14, SATVA released statistics that show Saskatchewan in 2013 had the highest mortality rate and second highest injury rate of any year since 2000 with eight fatal and 47 injurious ATV accidents.

Already this year, there has been one death when a 40-year-old man rolled his quad near Togo on May 10.

“Wearing a helmet is the first step in making ATV safety a priority for riders,” said John Meed, SATVA general manager. “It’s such a simple thing to do, yet many riders still refuse to wear a helmet, placing them at greater risk for serious injury and even death.”

Helmets were also high on the agenda as local RCMP members trained 250 Grade 3 students across all eight Yorkton elementary schools in bike safety last week. It is the second year for the Bike Rodeo and included the local municipal detachment handing out a free helmet and bicycle lock to each participant.

SGI was promoting safety for the other kind of two-wheeler that have hit the roads in big numbers as the weather became favourable. The provincial insurer is reminding both riders and other motorists to be careful.

For car and truck drivers the message is to be on the look out.

“Motorcycles are smaller and harder to see than other vehicles, so look, then look again, to make sure it’s safe before changing lanes or turning,” said Andrew Cartmell, president and CEO of SGI. “Despite their small size, motorcycles are vehicles just like cars and trucks, and we all need to share the road with each other’s safety in mind.”

Vigilance is also the watchword for riders.

“All riders need to take a proactive approach to riding rather than being reactive,” said Barry Muir, supervising chief instructor, Motorcycle Training Program with the Saskatchewan Safety Council. “One simple thing you can do is to increase your own visibility on your motorcycle. “An easy way to do this is to wear high-visibility clothing and use hand signals in addition to electronic signals. Proper lane position can also increase your visibility to the vehicles around you.”

Yorkton rural RCMP also got in on the safety activity last week targeting what they refer to as the “Big 4 Killers” on Canadian roads and highways, impaired driving, not wearing or improperly using seat belts, distracted driving (particularly cell phone use) and aggressive driving.

The detachment, along with Yorkton South East Traffic Services conducted high visibility check-stops, participated in roving patrols on highways and grid roads in the Yorkton district and set up electronic speed indicator signs at various locations alerting drivers of the speed they are traveling.



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