A six-year-old girl has died of injuries after her stepsister lost control of the quad they were riding on Tuesday afternoon.
The death is the third fatality involving off-road vehicles to be reported in Central Alberta this month.
Sgt. Rowland Schmidt of the Stettler RCMP said the two local girls were riding on a narrow road located about 25 km southeast of Stettler when their Polaris Ranger RZR rolled into the ditch.
A STARS air ambulance assisted at the scene.
The RCMP have not released the names of the two girls, stating only that the driver, uninjured in the rollover, was less than 16 years old.
Both girls were wearing full-face helmets and were strapped into the unit, which was equipped with a rollbar. Their quad was the type in which the passenger sits beside rather than behind the driver.
County of Stettler peace officer Ian Mose said the girls were riding on a private road that had been built into a field to provide access to an oil lease.
County bylaws and provincial traffic laws do not apply to people operating vehicles or equipment on private property, said Mose.
County bylaws allow children 14 and up to ride quads on county roads, as long as they are under the supervision of a responsible adult. However, the vehicle must be properly registered and insured, he said.
The bylaw was created so farm children could help their parents with chores, such as moving cattle or carrying fencing equipment, said Mose.
On Canada Day, a 23-year-old man was killed and two other people were injured when a customized dune buggy rolled on private property about 13 km southeast of Red Deer at about 10:30 p.m. Police said the modified unit had one seatbelt in the centre but not on the two outside seats. Investigators could not determine whether the woman riding in the centre seat was wearing the seatbelt at the time of the rollover.
Earlier on July 1, at about 7 p.m., a man was injured when two quads collided on a rural road southwest of Caroline. A STARS air ambulance flew crash victim Randy Walpole to hospital in Edmonton, where he died a week later.
Rocky Mountain House RCMP said speed and poor visibility as a result of dusty conditions may have been factors in the crash.
Alberta Transportation has been looking at changes in off-highway vehicle laws in an attempt to address fatalities, public affairs officer Trent Bancarz said on Wednesday.
Government members are creating a regulation that would make helmets mandatory for all riders, regardless of age. However, the regulation would apply to public lands only and would not affect people quadding, snowmobiling or biking on private property, said Bancarz.
“It’s something they’re looking at, potentially, in the fall.”
That means it will still be quite a while before any changes are put in effect, he said.