Riding off-road vehicles can provide a fun pastime throughout the year, but it's important to keep safety in mind -- even as summer comes to an end.
 
The Sturgeon County Rural Crime Watch Association, in partnership with Sturgeon County Protective Services, held an OHV (off-highway vehicle) Information Day at the Calahoo Fire Hall on Saturday (Sept.29).
 
Some of the key topics included the importance of wearing a helmet, staying off private property and ensuring that off-highway vehicles aren't hurting the environment.
 
"The important thing is, our bylaws say that you need a driver's license," said Ken Lauinger, peace officer supervisor with Sturgeon County. "So, that means you're (at least) 14 years old. You get these younger folks driving these ATVs and they're big machines. Can these folks really handle them? Probably not."
 
Proper helmets were a big topic. Lauinger says helmets are an easy way to prevent ATV-related injuries, though the importance of wearing one may often be overlooked by users. Certain ATVs require not only head protection, but full-face coverage and glasses or a screen as well.
 
While helmets are technically not required on private property, those riding without helmets on public land may face a substantial fine.
 
The informative event covered the towing of sleds or tubes behind an off-highway vehicle with a rope. Peace officers say the activity is extremely dangerous and fineable. Sturgeon County Protective Services recommend purchasing a proper tow bar designed for the vehicle in use.
 
Regular vehicle and equipment maintenance is also key to a safe ride according to Lauinger.
 
Another information session on off-highway vehicles will be held in Redwater later this fall.

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