A young boy has died in a quad bike incident on an Australian farm last weekend. What the boy was doing at the time of the incident is unclear and whether the quad bike was a work vehicle or recreational is also unclear, but the current sensitivities of the issue of quad bike safety have raised media attention once more.
In this week’s edition of The Weekly Times, the motorcycle manager of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, Rhys Griffiths, seems uncertain of the type of safety measures being considered for quad bikes by manufacturers. He is reported as saying
“…. research and development spending and direction was a “closely guarded secret of each manufacturer”.
“My guess is they may be spending money on things like active suspension, which helps the stability of the ATV. But a roll bar or crush bar is probably not under development.”
Since quad bike safety advocates began producing robust research to add to the existing safety evidence, the FCAI seems to have been on the back foot a little by reacting instead of proposing change. However, the FCAI are not manufacturers themselves and perhaps the FCAI has been an easier target for the safety campaigners than tackling Honda, for instance.
The campaign momentum is with the safety advocates, particularly after lifesaving stories like the one from The Weekly Times on July 20 2011. One campaigner has informed SafetyAtWorkBlog that the poster campaign by quadbike manufacturers has generated a revised copy of the poster (above). The following statement has been dropped:
“Studies that meet global standards have shown without exception that ROP and Crush Proof Devices installed on ATVs increase rather than decrease the likelihood of injury.”
The poster recommends visiting a campaign website – http://www.atvsafety.com.au/
The tragic death of this boy raises many safety questions beyond the presence of the quadbike, which a coroner is likely to investigate in the next few years.
UPDATE 11 August 2011
The poster referred to above has been removed from the ATVSafety website, which is being redeveloped.