Outdoor Activities and Staying Safe During COVID-19

Outdoor Activities and Staying Safe During COVID-19

Staying Safe 


The recent outbreak of the COVID-19 virus has forced us to focus on personal safety, for ourselves and for our families. But neither do we want to live our lives in fear of new and exciting experiences. Every exciting activity carries some types of risk; the question each of us has to ask of ourselves is: “How much risk is too much?” The answer will be different for each of us, but we owe it to ourselves and our families to acknowledge and consider the risk factors.  


Three of the most popular types of leisure activities in Canada carry risk: cycling, skiing, and riding on an ATV. If you and your family are planning to participate in these activities, be sure you know how to enjoy them safely. 


  • Cycling or Rollerblading. Bicycling is very popular in urban centres, so it’s not surprising that it’s one of the riskiest sporting activities in Canada. Each year, more than 4,000 people are hospitalized due to biking injuries, and there are an average of 75 deaths annually. You can decrease your chances of injury by learning the rules of the road and not taking unnecessary chances while cycling; any time a cyclist is hit by a motor vehicle, the injuries can be devastating. You can also reduce the chances of an accident by dressing properly: wear light clothing and use reflectors on your bike and yourself, and be sure to wear a helmet. 


  • Skiing and snowboarding. It’s estimated that there are approximately 2.5 million skiers/snowboarders in Canada, and it remains one of our most popular winter activities. However, you can be injured by hitting rocks, trees, or other skiers; by falling, by getting badly sunburned, or by being caught in avalanches, among other things. If you intend to head out onto the slopes, be sure that you are wearing proper gear, including warm clothing, goggles, and a safety-certified helmet. When participating in ski or snowboard activities, know your skill level. Take lessons: learn to stop, learn to control your speed, be sure you know what to do on the ski lift. Learn and follow all of the basic safety rules. Remember to stick to the slope that equates to your ability; many accidents occur when skiers decide to try a trail “colour” that is above their skill level, or to go “backcountry” skiing before they’re experienced enough. 


  • Driving ATVs and Off-Roading Vehicles. All-Terrain Vehicles and “quads” are popular, particularly in rural areas, but they have a high incidence of injury and death; more than 4,000 ATV riders are hospitalized each year and an average of 182 lose their lives. Sadly, many of these deaths and serious injuries happen to children and teens. ATVs are now faster and larger than ever before, and they can be difficult to handle. Take precautions such as taking a Canada Safety Council ATV course, wearing the correct gear, including a helmet, riding only during the day, staying off roads and highways, and not carrying passengers or heavy loads. 


And of course, if you are injured, don’t hesitate to contact a personal injury law firm to see if you are eligible to file an insurance claim. An initial consultation with an Ontario personal injury lawyer is usually free of charge and can help you to learn more about your options.