Mandatory rollover protection looms

22 Sep, 2015 02:00 AM
I can’t see there being a mandatory requirement for CPDs overnight

QUAD bikes will be required to be fitted with mandatory rollover protection devices and users required to wear helmets and undertake training under new compulsory safety laws to be introduced by the federal government.

While the timing of the new laws are unclear, it appears safety regulators are aiming to use a carrot and big stick approach to rein in the appalling safety record of what has become Australia’s most dangerous piece of farm equipment.

Side-by-side vehicles, which have long been promoted as a safer alternative to quads, are also expected to be caught up in the new regulations.

According to the Moree-based Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety headed by Dr Tony Lower, nine out of 10 rollover deaths involve a quad bike.

“In the majority of cases quad bikes are not fit for purpose for the tasks required by farmers. A more suitable vehicle should be used,” the centre says.

“Deaths are evenly distributed between rollovers, where asphyxiation/crush injury are common and non-rollovers where the victim is flung onto a hard surface as a result of a quad bike crash.

“If quad bikes are still to be used as the vehicle of choice, they should be fitted with a suitably tested crush protection device.”

The popular farm machine has overtaken tractors as the leading cause of non-intentional injury death on Australian farms.

It is estimated there are about 320,000 quad bikes in Australia.

Since January 1 there has been 14 quad bike fatalities in Australia including four in Queensland.

Queensland deputy state coroner John Lock said at the conclusion of multiple inquests on August 3 into the safety of quad bikes that one of the issues with the machine was that tragic incidents could occur in benign conditions.

“The evidence gathered during this multiple inquest raises many issues about the safety of quad bikes, including the importance of active riding, good mechanical maintenance, use of correct tyre pressure, use of helmets, disallowing children to ride adult sized quad bikes, understanding the limitations of the vehicle, and that tragic incidents can occur in quite benign conditions,” Mr Lock said.

Clifton-based David Robertson is Australia’s sole manufacturer of crush protection devices (CPD) for quad bikes.

Mr Robertson said while the fitment of CPDs was currently not compulsory, owners were already obligated to take reasonable steps under existing workplace, health and safety laws to ensure quad bikes were safe for users to operate.

“I can’t see there being a mandatory requirement for CPDs overnight,” Mr Robertson said.

“I would imagine there would be a retro program, similar to how ROPS were brought in and eventually made compulsory for tractors.”

Mr Robertson has manufactured and sold about 4000 of his Quadbar brand CPDs in the past six years. The CPDs have been exported to about 10 countries including Israel, which is currently the only country with compulsory CPD laws.

The CPDs which are made from high tensile steel and structural aluminium sell for $627.

Comment is being sought from Safe Work Australia.

Mark Phelps

Mark Phelps

is editor-in-chief of Queensland Country Life
Date: Newest first | Oldest first


22/09/2015 4:48:06 AM

CPD bars of this design will never be mandatory because they are dangerous. Design a better system and you will have much greater support. The New Zealond one seems a much better design but it is hard to get much info on it.
22/09/2015 6:57:14 AM

This is a good example of the nanny state at work. It never lets people take responsibility for themselves, instead bureaucrats, who has never been outside, dictate how a motor bike should be built. Imagine trying to build this country with bureaucrats in charge, it just would not have happened! So sad.
22/09/2015 7:41:20 AM

It is not like these proposed "laws' are actually going to be followed on farm.. Who here can see the police rushing onto a rural property and booking a person for not wearing a helmet.. This is a typical response from an urban centric country.
Itz Me
22/09/2015 7:52:44 AM

Boris, that's what is happening in Australia today. The bureaucrats/govt have taken over and try to micro manage every aspect of the country and our lives. From stupid bike laws to stupid gun laws to stupid climate laws, the list and the stupidity continues on.
22/09/2015 7:55:23 AM

And many pedestrians are killed and injured when hit by cars, so when are they going to be forced to wear helmets and protective cages around them for their own safety. Quads with roll bars are fine if someone wants them or thinks they themselves need then but to make it compulsory is just a cost burden which in most cases on flat country is completely unnecessary.
John Carpenter
22/09/2015 7:56:32 AM

Another attack on farm productivity especially our ability to keep noxious weeds under control.
Mal Content
22/09/2015 11:05:27 AM

More bureaucratic interference . Or is it just a case of justifying the funding ? There's an awful lot of quads in service in Australia, and a very high proportion of those in daily use. How the hell can any supposed intellectual make a statement like “In the majority of cases quad bikes are not fit for purpose for the tasks required by farmers.".. Do you really suppose that the farmers are so bloody stupid that they are going to spend upward of 15 grand on a machine that is not suited ? Really?
22/09/2015 11:05:42 AM

There was much the same squeal over ROPS on tractors
22/09/2015 11:18:04 AM

I would like to know how they will inforce this if the quad's are on private property, What's next mandatory airbag's in tractor's
22/09/2015 11:30:51 AM

Farmers need to wake up to themselves. This is the 21st century not the 1950's. Farms are a workplace and farmers need to comply to the relevant laws. Compulsory helmets and children riding large ATV's is a no brainer to lower the death toll. We need to wake up to ourselves!
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