Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Alberta ATV culture and kids

I have my own gripe with Alberta and quadding culture, but that mostly has to do with not being able to paddle down a crystalline mountain river without meeting an ATV zipping in and out of the water every ten minutes. Or using said river to wash off the mud and oil from all that zipping. I cringed when I spoke to someone who had just bought their 9 year old a quad, thinking it was an anomaly. Apparently not.

Doctors at Edmonton's Stollery Children's Hospital are calling on parents to keep their children off all-terrain vehicles until they are at least 16.
"It breaks my heart when I have a teenager ... go on one of these machines — a 12, 13-year-old — and then dies in my ICU," said Dr. Daniel Garros.
This month alone, Stollery doctors treated four children with severe injuries sustained while riding ATVs. Two have died.
Last year, the Stollery treated 105 young patients for ATV-related injuries which Garros said include severe head trauma, broken spleens and damaged livers. Garros said the powerful machines typically flip over, crushing the youths underneath.
"What we are doing here is we're trying to prevent these injuries because we cannot continue like that," Garros said.
Thirteen-year-old CJ Gordon suffered major internal injuries and nearly died last year after she lost control of the ATV she was driving.
"Lacerated spleen, a lacerated liver," her mother Brenda Gordon said. "Her pancreas was severed and her kidney was popped open."...
Garros hopes the injury statistics will convince parents to keep their children off the machines.
CJ's mum provides yet another argument for licensing parents, let alone quads!  
But Brenda Gordon says her family has another trip planned this summer and CJ is already back on a quad.
"I can never stop an accident and it was an accident," she said.
I hate to think what she'd say if her daughter were killed. And Alberta Transportation seems to want to encourage the practice of filling emergency departments and ICUs with broken children and their idiot parents.

Officials with Alberta Transportation said the province is not planning any regulations to limit the age of children who ride ATVs or to mandate helmet use.
Odd, because if you're riding a two-wheeled, pedal powered vehicle weighing a dozen kilograms, plus or minus a few, and under the age 18, Alberta requires you to wear a helmet. Yet, if you're a child riding a gasoline-powered machine weighing several hundred kilos and capable of great speeds over uneven terrain, it's all "whatever".


Uncommoner said...

I loathe ATV's almost as much as I do Skidoos and Jetskis. Loud, raucous, too fast to really appreciate the nature you're whizzing past and inconsiderate to EVERYONE else within a mile who has to watch out for a half-blind doofus with more money than brains.

The lack of a need to license ATV's is just one more blind spot. I have to have PFD's when I canoe (and I wear them, because that's how I was trained in Sea Scouts), what's the problem with requiring basic safety precautions of ATV users?

If nothing else, we are all on the hook for any injuries they cause themselves while tooling around so disruptively. That right there suggests at least a bare minimum safety requirement to protect the public 'investment'.

Anonymous said...

My Neighbor purchased a gas powerd mini ATV for his... wait for it...

4 year old son.

robert said...

This is not just about ATVs and Alberta, it is about all motorized toys and all of Canada. All the provinces have allowed every species of motor toy to be introduced with little or no regulation only to look at the carnage ten years on or so and shrug for the most part. Canada is a culture relentlessly in love with internal combustion based recreation; cars, motorbikes, motorboats, snowmobiles, jetskis and ATVs. It is so deeply ingrained I am sure I sound shrill and alien just commenting on it. The government and business interests love it for all the cash flow it provides; these are big ticket purchases followed by endless upkeep and, of course, embedded in the petroleum lifestyle. It's "fill'er up" every weekend as households "recreate" with fleets of these things. Few persons of blue collar or working class or whatever the appropriate term is these days would be caught enjoying non-motorized options and getting aerobic exercise. As a cyclist and and a skier I envy other countries and cultures where the impacts of motor sport are minimized and much larger groups participate in non-motorized outdoor sport. Canada is a massive failure in this regard and the effects on the population in both trauma and fitness and on the environment via intrusion and degradation are patent and tragic.

Steve said...

Its ironic that in Austria where the rotex engine for all ski doo products is made, ATV, snowmobiles and I think watercraft are banned.

Anonymous said...

As an immigrant I was astounded to find that the Canadian definition of camping involved, a huge 4 door truck and a trailer that has a satellite dish, a kitchen, a shower, a bed and a toilet.
Why should anybody be amazed that a family trek in the wilderness should require automotive transport.
It's adventurism without the adventure for a bunch of folk too lazy to actually go on an adventure. Or in the case of this child's mother too stupid to take responsibility for her poor parenting.

TheEvilOne said...

These kids are candidates for the Darwin awards.

Boris said...

ahem, harebell! As a Canadian who does not take a portable mansion into the bush, I'd take exception to your generalisation. In my experience this method of camping seems to be an Alberta thing...

Anonymous said...

it was a generalisation and as with all generalisations (ooo another generalisation) there are exceptions. My only excuse is that I live in Alberta so I look about me.