STATE government wants the Federal Coalition to introduce a national five-star safety rating system for quad bikes.
Since 2011, 115 people have been killed in quad bike accidents on Australian farms, with 32 in NSW alone – including kids as young as seven.
Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said NSW would call on the Federal Government to introduce a safety rating system, which manufacturers would apply to their vehicles, allowing consumers to make a more informed choice when buying.
But the country’s ATV industry body wants government to wait until a further commissioned study is accepted and published by a US engineering journal before it designs any program.
The National Farmers Federation, Rural Doctors Association of Australia, and NSW Farmers called for a five starsystem after a horrifying week in March that saw two people die and two other people critically injured as a result of quad bike incidents.
“After meeting with Senator Michaelia Cash last month, we believe a rating system is the next big step to reducing deaths and injuries from quad bike incidents,” Mr Kean said.
“We want to work with manufacturers and farmers to develop a scheme, which would give buyers the information they need, at a glance, to make the safest possible choice.
A safety rating system for quad bikes was a key recommendation of the NSW Deputy Coroner’s 2015 inquest into quad bike deaths.
It would build on state government’s $2 million Quad Bike Safety Improvement Program, which provides free training and helmets for those who complete the course, as well as rebates for protective devices, and safer side-by-side vehicles.
Meanwhile, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries says it has commissioned a US engineering company to devise the criteria for an Off-Road Vehicle Safety Star Rating System that might be applied to ATVs.
FCAI manager Mark Collins said the article had been completed and submitted to US engineering journal SAE. Once accepted, Mr Collins said the FCAI would present it to various Safe Work agencies and state governments, in the hope that the findings will influence any star rating system being developed.
“The FCAI strongly urges Safe Work NSW and Minister Keen to wait for this paper to be published so that any star rating system can truly demonstrate that a proposed vehicle characteristic that gains a higher star rating can achieve better safety outcomes,” he said.
He said the ATV industry was concerned some of the proposed vehicle characteristics in the University of NSW’s Transport and Road Safety research for SafeWork NSW was not evidence based, and could have negative consequences.
But in March, National Farmers Federation President Fiona Simson said: “The case for safer quad bike design has never been clearer."
“Unlike with two-wheel motorbikes, it is not speed, but the stability of the vehicle that is the major contributor to the quad bike rollovers.”
Last month NSW Labor called for kids under 16 to be banned from riding adult-sized quad bikes.
Mandatory helmet use and safety training is also part of the Opposition’s quad bike safety push.
Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair said state government was committed to improving rider safety.
“(We’re) providing incentives to encourage farmers to improve the safety of their quad bikes, education programs to support safer usage and now we want to give consumers better information to support their decision making.”