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Reinforcing message on all-terrain vehicle helmet safety

Hamlet of Rankin Inlet continues to push wearing helmets while riding ATVs
If you're going to let somebody ride on an all-terrain vehicle with you, put a helmet on them, advises Rankin Inlet Fire Chief Mark Wyatt.

With warm weather on the horizon, the Hamlet of Rankin Inlet is sending the message once again that driving on an ATV without a helmet won't be tolerated.

And, over the years, the message has been slowly received.

Fire Chief Mark Wyatt has called Rankin Inlet home for almost nine years now, and he sees the situation as getting better during that time.

But, he quickly adds, he still runs into more than a little resistance to it.

“We still have too many people on ATVs without wearing helmets and we still have too many kids racing around town at night,” said Wyatt.

“This is something I deliberately instruct my guys to start cracking down on every year. And, it seems, every year I have different bylaw officers.

“I take my instructions from hamlet council and every year they want me to start cracking down on helmets, so that's what I do.

“And that also goes for speeding laws and all of the other things that we're in the position of enforcing with bylaw.”

The fine for not wearing a helmet while riding on an ATV is $60 per passenger and the driver is responsible for ensuring the passengers wear helmets too. So, if the driver's wearing a helmet but the passenger is not, bylaw can still pull the driver over and fine them $60.

Wyatt said that's just the way it is. He said if you're going to let somebody ride on the machine with you, put a helmet on them.

“Theoretically, while in town, you have to have registration and insurance too, but people are just going to be the way they're going to be.

“Down south, everybody wears a helmet all year round. They wear helmets on snowmobiles, but, up here, people say it's too cold to wear a helmet. Well, a helmet actually keeps you warmer. If you wear a full-face helmet, then you're a lot warmer that way riding an ATV and snowmobile than with that helmet off.

“We see anywhere from three head injuries a year to, I think, our worst record was nine. A lot of them get medevaced out, so I'd say that's fairly severe.

“It's frustrating to see riders get medevaced out that, quite possibly, may not have been injured at all if they had just worn their helmet. It's extremely frustrating to see unnecessary injuries or worse.”

About the Author: Darrell Greer, Local Journalism Initiative

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