Pressure on ATV industry

28 Nov, 2012 01:00 AM
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6
 
A quad-bike fitted with a crush protection device, or CPD.
Of these deaths 20 per cent involve children less than 16 years...
A quad-bike fitted with a crush protection device, or CPD.

PRESSURE is mounting on the quad-bike industry over its response to Australia's mounting fatality and injury toll.

With manufacturers firmly opposed to fitting roll bars, or crush protection devices (CPDs), the spotlight has fallen on Federal Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten.

A recent decision sees CPDs fitted to all quad-bikes ridden by Commonwealth employees and Mr Shorten has given a commitment to work with senior representatives from farming organisations, industry, unions and community groups, to reduce quad-bike fatalities and injuries.

"Australia has been a world leader for safety improvement in other areas and I see no reason why we can't also be a world leader for quad-bike safety," Mr Shorten said.

In the meantime it remains to be seen whether CPDs will be mandated on Australian farms.

Closely following the debate is the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety's director, Dr Tony Lower.

He said there had been more than 160 quad-bike related deaths, averaging about 13 deaths a year since 2001.

"Of these deaths 20 per cent involve children less than 16 years with several cases involving the small, child-size quads," he said. "But 45pc are over the age of 45 years, so while children should not be using quad-bikes of any size, it is the older users that make up the bulk of cases."

Dr Lower said of the fatal cases there was an even split between rollover and non-rollover events.

A significant issue for agriculture was that nine out of every 10 rollover events occurred on a farm.

Consequently, he said that was why the focus was on trying to address ATV stability and the issue of protection for riders, in the event of a rollover.

"There is a misconception in the community that quad-related deaths predominantly involve children, or riders with little experience and occur on steep ground at high speeds," Dr Lower said.

"Where available, the deaths data actually tells a very different story with most deaths happening to adults who have extensive experience and occur on relatively level ground at low speeds."

But the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), together with the Australian quad-bike/ATV industry, comprising the leading distributors, continues to reject proposals for the use of rollover devices on these machines.

It says updated research into one type of locally-produced CPD found that it caused more harm than it prevented in the sample of overturns examined, regardless of whether a helmet was worn.

  • FOOTNOTE: There have been eight quad-bike/ATV-related fatal accidents between January and September 2012 compared to five tractor deaths, which previously used to head on-property mortalities. Quad-bike/ATVs also top the number of non-fatal on-farm injury statistics at 32.
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    READER COMMENTS

    John
    28/11/2012 6:39:36 AM, on The Land

    If ATV makers would switch to producing six-wheel drive vehicles safety would improve dramatically, and costs only a bit. I use a six-wheel Argo, and have had no heart-stopping moments.
    ggwagga
    28/11/2012 6:59:15 AM, on Stock & Land

    As an experienced quad bike rider & one who was seriously injured in a nose over tail flip, I cannot fathom why there is any objection to the fitting of CPD's. It would certainly have saved me from my debilitating injuries. I accept that quad bikes are fantastic management tools and are exceptionally maneuverable in many farming jobs. But they can also be very dangerous, even with the most experienced rider. Take care, don't become another statistic.
    dogsbody
    28/11/2012 2:08:23 PM, on Queensland Country Life

    There is only one way to get these life saving devices fitted thats a major class action. the tractor industry resisted change for a long time. the majority of deaths on these very unstable platforms are young people who often don't think before they act and usually think they are bullet proof. I had one there was a near miss and I got rid of it and frankly I don't miss it. I can get everything I need done with a ute and a 2 wheel motorcycle which incidentally i purchased 2 and the change as compared to a quad will run them for a long time.
    wally
    29/11/2012 4:38:03 AM, on Queensland Country Life

    the main problem with atv's is the throtle.when you hit a log or such like you the handlebars for safety and automatically hit the throttle.the throttle should be re located so you automatically come off it in an emergency,perhaps under the heel
    Tim W
    29/11/2012 4:48:18 AM, on Stock Journal

    It's always the quad that gets blamed. Not the people getting killed because they don't know how to ride properly, afren't wearing a helmet or any protective gear while riding. How is a CPD going to save you if you aren't wearing a helmet? Proper rider training is the key to this issue and some common sense. people need to start taking resposibilty for their own actions!
    Peter S
    29/11/2012 3:26:48 PM, on The Land

    Simple, build bikes with ABS, traction control, anti rear control, terrain following radar and idiot sensor in the seat cushion (ie stops if the rider goes nuts). We have eliminated see saws and swings in parks and next will be roll over bars on horses, because they kill too. Belt the bejesus out of rock fishermen, because the injury and death statistics are too frightening to comprehend. Finally, the matter of sex... a most dangerous pursuit where more people die from heart attack than any other trivial pursuit. Lets all live in a cave and do nothing until senility pervades...

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