Injuries from ATVs, cycling and other outdoor activities in Alberta rose 40% last summer, prompting a warning over the May long weekend

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Injuries from biking, roller skating, skateboarding, and the use of trampolines and ATVs increased by about 40% last summer in the province, according to the Injury Prevention Center (IPC) of the ‘University of Alberta in Edmonton.

The center urges Albertans to be cautious when heading outdoors over the long weekend given the peak in emergency room visits after outdoor activities between summer 2019 and summer 2020, in particular , jumped 75% for the month of May in 2020.

IPC Associate Director Kathy Belton said it appears more Albertans have been looking for ways to have fun, socialize and be outdoors during the pandemic, but hospitals are already occupied at the moment.

“With the hospital system under such strain with COVID, it’s very important that we don’t put more stress on it than necessary,” Belton said.

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“We just encourage people to exercise caution and caution, and always wear protective gear – helmets, knee and elbow pads and any other gear recommended for the activity you are doing.”

The center said protective gear, knowing how to operate the equipment properly and making sure children are supervised can prevent injuries. Substance use while riding electric scooters, ATVs and bicycles also puts people at a higher risk of injury and is a “recipe for disaster,” Belton said.

“We really want people to stay active and get out and enjoy our beautiful province, but we want them to do it in the safest way possible.

U of A hospital trauma and acute care surgeon Dr. Nori Bradley said she saw many broken arms and legs from people injured on bicycles and mountain bikes. Some also have serious facial injuries, traumatic brain and spine injuries, and fractured ribs.

She said about a third of the patients they see injured using electric scooters, bicycles and mountain bikes are intoxicated. Many do not wear helmets and the injuries can be serious.

“We have young people who have traumatic brain damage – they can have permanent brain damage because of it, they can change their personality, they may not be able to return to work,” Bradley said.

“Our hospitals are busy enough right now with very serious injuries that could have been avoided – no one needs them, especially when they can be life-changing injuries.”

The province does not have data on electric scooter injuries, but recently added a new code to track them.

On average, six people die every day in Alberta from injuries – the leading cause of death for people under 45. According to the Injury Prevention Center, these injuries cost the provincial health care system about $ 4.6 billion in direct expenses and $ 2.4 billion in indirect expenses each year.

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