Off Road Vehicles

Injury Prevention & Safety

All-terrain vehicles, also known as ATVs, quads, or quad bikes, are motorized vehicles that are maneuvered on off-high way terrain and designated trails. ATVs can be used as a recreational activity and are also used for occupational purposes included farming, agriculture or transportation in rural and remote areas. Although ATVs are popular in Alberta, ATV-use continues to negatively impact Albertans, particularly children and youth.

Children and youth under 16 years of age are at a risk of ATV-related injuries due to a lack in physical strength, cognitive maturity and judgement to operate ATVs safely compared to other age groups.

It is strongly recommended that children under 16 years of age should not be riding ATVs. Hospitalization records and data however are showing that despite this recommendation, children and youth are still experiencing harms related to ATVs.

Parachute, the Injury Prevention Centre, the Canadian Pediatric Society, and the American Academy of Pediatrics have created position statements that include recommendations of how to reduce harm and ATV-related injuries in all ages, including children and youth under 16. 

Key Messages

These key messages are for anyone operating an ATV. Although it is strongly recommended that ATV operators are not under the age of 16 years, it is important that the safety recommendations below are followed for ATV operators of any age, including those under 16.

  • ATV operators should be a minimum age of 16 years and older.
  • Always wear a helmet when operating or riding an ATV.
  • Always wear protective gear including eye protection goggles, gloves, jackets, full length pants and proper footwear while operating or riding an ATV.
  • Avoid riding in the dark, in poor weather conditions and on highways or trails not designated for ATV-use.
  • Take a certified ATV training course to build on ATV riding skills before operating. The Canada Safety Council offers ATV Training.
  • Do not consume alcohol or other impairing substances prior to and while using ATVs.
  • Do not carry passengers on an ATV designed for a single rider.
  • Ensure ATV operators ride on ATVs that are age and size appropriate (according to height and weight recommended on the manufacturer label).

Provider Resources


Position Statements:

Evidence Reviews

Quick Facts

From 2015 through to 2020 in Alberta, children and youth 16 years and under sustained the following:

  • 6908 ATV-related ED & UCC visits
  • 563 ATV-related hospitalizations
  • 13 ATV-related deaths

*The data above was gathered using ICD-10 codes for ATV, snowmobile and off-road vehicle related injuries. Source: AHS Surveillance and Reporting, 2022