Weekly Times sets the tone for quad bike safety research

The Weekly Times newspaper continues to report on the changing attitudes to quad bike safety in Australia.  In its 19 October 2011 edition it featured an article that for the first time in the Australian print media questions the US research statistics on quad bike safety on which motorcycle manufacturers have been relying for many years.

The research by Dynamic Research, predominantly undertaken by John Zellner, has been questioned before but the appearance of such an article in the mainstream, albeit rural, press indicates a degree of research maturity in this area in Australia.  It also indicates the possibilities presented by the internet and social media for promoting change and questioning important matters that do not usually garner mainstream attention.

Many of the researchers mentioned in the Weekly Times article appeared on a recent TV current affairs program on the issue.  One of the Australian researchers , John Lambert, has called for crush protection devices to be mandated based on his research.  Lambert’s research report soon to be released on his website questions Zellner’s computer simulations, risk benefit analyses, computer modelling and suitability using a “hybrid dummy.

Another researcher mentioned in the Weekly Times article, Shane Richardson, published his investigations into quad bike safety in 2009.  This research questions the basis for safety calculations in some of the New Zealand quad bike safety guidelines.

The research to-ing and fro-ing in the quad bike debate in Australia indicates more clearly than ever that an independent research program into quad bike safety is required for Australia.  The mention of a research grant application is a positive development but we have seen that the quad bike safety debate has been very bitter and sometimes accusatory.  Any new independent research will only prolong the tension if the quad bike manufacturers do not have an active participation in the research or acknowledge some legitimacy in the results.

Research by itself will not progress quad bike safety.  Political bridges must start to be rebuilt between the important stakeholders in this safety issue in order to achieve a permanent sustainable safe working environment.

Kevin Jones

Categories ATV, design, evidence, innovation, media, OHS, quad bike, research, risk, safety, UncategorizedTags , , ,

5 thoughts on “Weekly Times sets the tone for quad bike safety research”

  1. The Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities in Australia and New Zealand (HWSA) have released a pilot quad bike training package for quad bikes:
    http://www.hwsa.org.au/files/documents/Activities%20-%20Current%20Campaigns/c09a4d29-0e57-455b-82c4-ae62dfa675ea.pdf

    The competency module is here:
    http://training.gov.au/Training/Details/AHCMOM212A

    But what\’s bizarre about this is that the performance criteria for the competency include this:
    \”1.3. Attached equipment suitable for quad bikes is fitted according to manufacturer\’s specifications.\”

    Also, Required skills include: \”match and attach equipment to quad bikes according to manufacturer\’s specifications, legislative requirements, work requirements and enterprise safety policy\”.

    How they reconcile this with the ongoing stoush between said Workplace Safety Authorities who want some form of rollover protection installed, and the manufacturers who are fighting tooth and nail to keep them off, escapes me.

  2. I think the quadbike manufacturers are pushing back because they are worried about legal implications in the US if they admit that there is a safety risk with their product. Could be tough to get them to come to the table with research if the research ultimately shows that their product deficiency resulted in the deaths of literally hundreds of US riders.

  3. I\’ve concluded that CPDs on quads need to be mandatory. A mini face-to-face survey of lads up the bush, including quad sellers, made it pretty clear that people are waiting for the statutory nudge.

    All up, there is too much fiddling about going on. The heads of all OHS Oz agencies have given the CPD a thumbs-up as a worthwhile safety feature. And so they should have. It\’s a no-brainer.

    The risk control deliberation is easy to work out. In the fractions of a second you\’d have while watching 250 kg or so of plastic and metal about to land smack on ya chest, you get the magical choice of CPD or no CPD miraculously appearing on ya quad. Not a difficult choice at all.

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