Though it may feel like summer has just opened up, we are halfway through the year and heading towards the tail end of riding season. Unfortunately for us Canadian’s as much as we would like the weather to stay, Winter is slowly approaching. That means a lot of us are starting to wind down for the Summer and put our machines away for Winter.
The off-road industry as a whole has seen it’s fair share of incidents. We riders have all been impacted from an ATV/UTV accident whether it is someone we know or us directly.
According to the Injury Prevention Centre, “on average 14 Albertans loose their lives annually after an ATV collision…In addition to the deaths, about 550 people will wind up in a hospital bed while another 5,500 will require emergency room visits”(Maron, 2019).
When it comes to the ATV market, about 25% of All-Terrain Vehicles are purchased in Alberta. (Maron, 2019). In 2016 there was over 149,804 registered off-highway vehicles in Alberta alone with no real speculation on the amount of non-registered. (Alberta Transportation Office of Traffic Safety, N.D)
Though this is a small segment of the Canadian population, it demonstrates how big the potential market size of ATV/UTV enthusiasts is in Canada.
Despite the size of our market, it’s always sad to hear stories when someone’s life has been changed due to an off-roading accident. We are a tight-knit community, and when someone’s life has been altered due to an off-roading accident, it ripples through local communities.
This blog focuses on our staff’s stories of how their community was shaped due to an off-roading incident
Matthew is our Digital Marketing Lead here at UTV Canada. He has been with UTV Canada since November 2018. When it comes to riding with safety and a story that impacted his life, he explains:
“When I was a teenager, we used to go out riding with a big group of family friends. We used to go out riding a few times throughout the year to the Rocky Mountain House or Nordeg regions of Alberta. We used to travel in large groups of 10-20 riders at a time and safety was our number one priority.
Growing up in the sport, I learned the importance of knowing your machine and to never run with too much power at a young age. I learned the importance of never riding alone, and why it’s critical to wear a helmet.
It wasn’t until I was in high-school when an off-roading incident hit our local community. One of our family friends youngest was riding, doing doughnuts in the middle of a field with a machine to big for him. The machine rolled on the young child, and sad to say the young boy didn’t make it. If I recall correctly, he had hit his head on a rock, and the machine was trapped on top of him.
This incident shook our local community and was a devastating loss.
To this day thinking back on this story, it really hits home when we talk about responsible riding here at UTV Canada. It’s a critical topic, and there is no such thing as too much education.”
Jared has been with UTV Canada since February of 2020. Though he just started with our company, he has been an ATV rider since birth. When asked about a story that hit home for him, he said it would be a time with his cousin.“My cousin and I were out riding our ATV’s on a trail alongside a riverbank. The trail was fairly narrow, and there was drop off on one side of the trail that leads down to the river.
Him and I were riding through this area and were travelling around 20-30km/h and the trail had a slight turn up ahead. He didn’t recognize this slight bend, and as we were moving he turned his head to make sure I was still behind him. As he did so, he lost his footing on the machine, over-corrected at the bend, collided into a rock and went flying off the machine.
His chest went first into a boulder and luckily, he did not have severe injuries where he had to go to the hospital. He was definitely sore for a few weeks after, but nothing that was life-altering.
Looking back at that time, my cousin definitely got lucky and I am glad we were wearing protective gear like chest protectors, helmets and boots.
Responsible riding means knowing the trails, and understand where you are riding. Always be aware of your environment and what is ahead of you.”
Jennifer has been in the Powersports industry for over 10 years. She started with UTV Canada in May of 2020 and has been a tremendous addition to our sales team. When asked about a story that impacted her, she explained a situation back to when she was selling units at a Polaris Dealership.
“I remember specifically, I was dealing with a customer and sold him a brand new UTV. I helped him pick out harnesses, helmets, riding gear, and a bunch of other safety equipment.
As I was working at the dealership at the time, I asked him whether or not he wanted life/disability insurance. The customer didn’t think it was right for him and decided to pass.
A few weeks later, I was out riding with some friends over a weekend when I saw a STARS helicopter fly over. As soon as I heard the chopper, I became sick to the stomach.
Monday morning, I came back into work to discover the customer I had serviced had an accident and didn’t make it. The customer was not strapped into his machine, was not wearing a helmet and there was speculation of possible drinking, however, never confirmed.
That story to this day still haunts me, as I know I did everything I could to get him geared up and ready for riding. It saddened me to lose such an awesome customer and human being, especially considering all the equipment that could have potentially saved his life.
It’s Always Better to be safe than sorry.
Never take off-road safety lightly. It’s a serious topic that doesn’t get enough talk around the campfires and dinner tables despite the impact it has on a community and, it deserves attention.
That means when you go out riding make sure you wear a helmet, drive sober and know your limits. Never ride into an area where you are going to feel uncomfortable. If you are going riding in a large group of people, look out for one another by watching for the person in front and behind you.
We would advise you to not go out riding alone. Always go with a friend or partner that can help you if something goes sour.
The off-road industry as a whole has seen it’s a fair share of incidents, and it’s our job to help educate you on responsible riding. Having fun should always be safety first.
Who Do You Know
We all know someone who has been either impacted directly or indirectly from an off-roading incident. We want to hear your stories of the people you know who have been impacted. Share this post on Facebook & Twitter and start a conversation. Tell your story as it helps unite our riding community and educate others.
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