Too hot for helmet debate heats up

12 Jan, 2012 09:17 AM
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25
 

AS temperatures soared across country Queensland the possibility of having to wear a helmet when riding a quad-bike (ATV) continues to simmer as a top rural issue for 2012.

Late last year the Bligh Government said it would examine whether helmets would need to become compulsory on farms, also Crush Protection Devices, or roll-bars, after a horror year of deaths and injuries during 2011.

With the mercury peaking at eight year highs across southern Queensland, property owner and AgForce vice-president Ian Burnett, speaking from Emerald, where the temperature was heading for 38 deg C, said the requirement for quad-bike riders to wear helmets would be difficult to maintain – principally because current designs don’t provide shade protection.

As well, AgForce is taking a cautious approach over any move to have quad-bikes fitted with crush protection devices, or roll-bars.

“While we all have to be mindful of the health and safety aspects, also the horrifying (injury) statistics, the record of quad-bikes on properties is a concern,” Ian Burnett said.

“There needs to be quite a bit more input and research (into the issues),” he added.

Meanwhile, forestalling any possible tightening up of quad-bike safety legislation in Queensland sees the Australian Agricultural College Corporation (AACC) ideally-placed to take on board any changes.

As well as adopting safe riding techniques, all AACC students must wear helmets as a compulsory part of the uniform - just like closed-in shoes – with the organisation’s quad-bikes additionally fitted with Crush Protection Devices, or roll-bars.

“AACC students are trained to wear helmets, follow manufacturer guidelines and use the vehicle in the best way for specific,” AACC executive director Tony Rayner said.

“The incidence of quad-bike fatalities and injuries is alarming and we are proud to instil appropriate safety practices in both full-time residential students and those undertaking short courses with us,” he added.

With most small to medium-size grazing enterprises using quad-bikes, also motor bikes for mustering, fencing, property inspection, spraying and general inspection, the issue is being closely tracked by land owners.

In March last year, AACC fitted Quadbars made by QB Industries on all its quad-bikes.

“Despite some initial apprehension on the use of roll-bars on our AACC vehicles, students and staff have quickly adapted,” Tony Rayner said.

The AACC currently is working with safety authorities to assess the practicalities of adopting the practice of riders wearing helmets and using quad-bikes fitted with ROPS.

During 2011 there were 23 fatalities in quad-bike incidents and there have been 12 deaths since 2002 in Queensland.

FOOTNOTE: Draft amendments to the Rural Plant Code of Practice 2004 will be available for comment until 31 March 2012.

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READER COMMENTS

blahblah
12/01/2012 10:08:21 AM

Let them choose whether to wear them. I think a little bit of discomfort is better than death or disablement.
Loc Hey
12/01/2012 2:51:43 PM

Trust the nanny state to take care of you and legislate to have you die of heat stroke to save you from yourself.
lamb man
12/01/2012 6:44:44 PM

How are they going to police it ?I cant see how a helmet is going to save lives to someone moving a mob of sheep from pdk 2 pdk.
PeterT
13/01/2012 4:29:06 AM

We require any one riding a 4 wheeler on our property to wear a helmet. I have worn a full face motocross style helmet with sun peak on 4 wheelers since1985 and as long as they are white or light coloured heat is not an issue.
food producer
13/01/2012 5:14:07 AM

lamb man- moving livestock from pdk to pdk can entail -say- falling of and hitting ones head. You can live with the fact a helmet could have saved a life or reduced the chance of disability occuring...
Bushie Bill
13/01/2012 5:51:34 AM

Invent a better helmet, take out insurance against injury and death (to protect the Australian people from having to pay for your arrogance and stupidity) or obey the law. Easy.
Qlander
13/01/2012 6:07:42 AM

A pushbike type skullcap with a brim and ventilation is what's needed. Also it must be remembered that dirt is not as hard as cement. (I've test this a number of time over the course of my life) What has happened to adults making their own decisions, and accepting the risks that are associated with those decisions.
ME Again
13/01/2012 7:46:14 AM

The "nanny state" and "who is going to police it" arguments are fallacious. You as employers or as owners should create a culture of safety: had you have done so to date, then you wouldn't need the State to intervene. The reality is that 50 deaths later, that culture of safety and that duty of care is exposed as being ignored by "salt of the earth" farmers, who want to focus on the solution, after they have failed to deal with the problem. Outfits like AgForce are just anachronistic luddites.
quad racer
13/01/2012 9:48:52 AM

I race sport quads in all seasons and temperatures and I'll never get on my quad without at least a full-face helmet on. I have had some serious crashes at both high and low speed and thankfully been able to walk away from all of them relatively unscathed as I took the necessary precautions to protect myself and wear the appropriate safety gear. ATV related deaths are occurring on farms, not race tracks where the perceived risk of death/injury is higher. Helmets do save lives and not wearing them because of the heat is a poor excuse. Your Akubra won't save your skull from being crushed
Geoff D
13/01/2012 11:47:45 AM

Lets start at the beginning? How many of the deaths are due to head injuries and how many were recreational users?????
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