Roll bar requirement for quads
New rules will require all quad bikes sold in Australia to have roll bars.
Despite loud protestations from manufacturers, some of the most dangerous vehicles in Australia should be made safer by the new regulations announced by Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar.
All new bikes will have to have roll bars within two years, and display stability test results in the vehicle, within a year.
They will also have to meet US and European standards relating to brakes, suspension systems, throttles and clutches.
“This safety standard aims to address the high risk of rollovers, which is especially important for many of our farmers and their families who use these vehicles daily,” Mr Sukkar said in a statement.
An average of 16 people per year are killed on quad bikes, and an estimated 6 people per day present to emergency wards due to incidents on the same vehicle.
“Quad bikes are the leading cause of fatalities in Australia of all consumer products that aren't regulated,” Mr Sukkar said.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Competition (ACCC) recommended four-wheel motorbikes be sold with rollover protection in February.
The ACCC has found 60 per cent of quad bike deaths are caused by rollovers, with the driver dying from asphyxia in half of those.
“Research indicates that roughly 50 per cent of these operators would have survived the crash had they not been crushed or pinned by the quad bike,” ACCC deputy chair Mick Keogh said.
“Fifteen thousand of the 186,000 quad bikes … in Australia already have rollover protection on them.
“And not one of those has had a death associated with it.”
The makers of quad bikes tend to deny these findings.
Honda - one of the largest manufacturers – has slammed the decision, accusing “special interest groups” of lobbying to end the use of quad bikes in Australia. The company says mandatory helmet laws and age restrictions would be enough.
“Honda's position has always been to put farmer safety first. The final standard released this morning fundamentally fails,” Honda Australia's managing director of motorcycle and power equipment Robert Toscano said.
“As it looks, in two years' time we will be forced to cease supply of quad bikes in Australia.”
Those “special interest groups” include the National Farmers Federation, the Australian Medical Association, Royal College of Surgeons, Rural Doctors Association of Australia, Royal Flying Doctor Service, National Rural Health Alliance, The National Rural Women's Coalition, Country Women's Association of Australia and the Australian Workers' Union.