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HomeNewsHealth unit raising alarm about “sharp increase” of ATV-related emergency department visits

Health unit raising alarm about “sharp increase” of ATV-related emergency department visits

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The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) is urging caution for anyone enjoying time on an all-terrain vehicle (ATV).

Officials with the health unit say there were 439 emergency department visits in 2020 because of ATV-related injuries. The emergency department (ED) rate that year was 78.9-percent per 100,000 population, which was almost double the provincial average of 43.9-percent.

Officials say the COVID-19 pandemic caused an increase in ATV traffic on the trails. When compared to 2019, the health unit saw a 30-percent increase in ED visits because of ATV-related injuries.

According to the officials, prior to the pandemic, ED visits because of ATV-related accidents were “consistently declining.”

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To prevent injury, officials say to wear protective gear for every ride, including eye protection, gloves, boots, a long-sleeved shirt, and long pants. That also includes a proper helmet.

When riding, they say to control your speed and never drive impaired.

Officials also recommend taking an ATV training course and to follow manufacturer instructions for proper ATV use and maintenance. 

“ATVs can be an exciting way to explore the outdoors, especially during the summer months,” said Mia Brown, manager of SMDHU’s substance use and injury prevention program. “However, as with any motorized vehicle, there is a serious risk of injury if it is operated incorrectly, and safety precautions have not been taken.”

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