Pembina Valley RCMP charged a 29-year-old woman earlier this month after her 13-year-old daughter and six of her friends were involved in an off-road vehicle (ORV) crash.

According to Manitoba RCMP, the incident took place when a group of 13-year-old girls were riding on a side-by-side ORV. Police noted the girls lost control of the vehicle while riding on gravel, with the ORV rolling into a ditch and throwing the riders off the vehicle.

One 13-year-old girl was taken to a hospital in Winnipeg with serious injuries. Another one of the girls was taken to a local hospital with minor injuries.

RCMP note that none of the girls were wearing helmets or safety equipment.

On June 15, a 29-year-old woman was charged with three offences, including, as the owner, permitting an unsupervised person under 14 years of age to operate an ORV.

“We take these incidents extremely seriously,” said Staff Sergeant Brent Mattice, area commander for Pembina Valley RCMP, in a news release.

“This could easily have been a much more tragic outcome. These machines are not for unsupervised children. They are not a toy. A fun ride can go bad quickly, as was the case here. The laws are there to keep people safe, and we are enforcing them.”

From 2019 to 2021, there have been 116 serious injury crashes involving all-terrain vehicles, dirt bikes and utility-terrain vehicles in the Manitoba RCMP’s jurisdiction. Of these 116 incidents, 18 were fatalities.

RCMP asks people riding ORVs to remember to wear properly fastened helmets, unless the vehicle has rollover protection and everyone is wearing a seatbelt. Police note that ORVs are not allowed on roadways, shoulders, sidewalks, and medians of divided roads.

Those driving an ORV need to be on the lookout for hazards, and remember that impaired driving laws apply.