Police are calling for proper safety with all-terrain vehicles after two severe crashes in Dysart et al this past month.
OPP responded to an ATV collision on Highland Street Aug. 22, in which a lone female driver collided with a tree and was taken to hospital with serious injuries. This follows a fatality in an ATV collision on Boice Bradley Drive, north of Guilford Lake Aug. 4.
Both cases remain under investigation and police have not yet confirmed what caused either of them, OPP Sgt. Jason Folz said.
Speaking generally, Folz said the causes of ATV collisions tend to follow the four main categories of other motor vehicle collisions: driving while distracted, driving recklessly, impaired driving and not wearing proper safety equipment.
“This is more of a general comment about all ATV collisions that we seem to be investigating within the region,” Folz said. “People are utilizing these pieces of equipment as toys and they need to be certainly respected or bad things could happen. They’re high-powered machines.”
Folz said OPP members trained in collision reconstruction investigated both scenes for several hours. He added it could be several months for police to complete the investigations.
Police have not named the 31-year-old involved in the Aug. 22 crash, which occurred around 6 p.m. A press release said she was transported to a Toronto-area hospital.
Two people were on the ATV in the Aug. 4 crash, which police responded to shortly before midnight. Folz said the vehicle entered a ditch and struck a tree. Michael Bowen, 27, was pronounced dead on the scene. The other occupant was treated for minor injuries, Folz said. The investigation has not yet determined which person was driving the vehicle.
Folz said ATV safety is a concern for police, especially in the Haliburton Highlands. He said police encourage people to be alcohol and drug-free when operating them.
“They are not toys,” he said.
People not wearing proper helmets are also a concern, Folz said. The problem has garnered a moniker in law enforcement, with ball caps worn backwards on ATVs getting dubbed “Haliburton helmets.”
“We’re seeing people are a little more relaxed with those rules when it comes to being out in cottage country,” Folz said. “It’s a real issue.”