How can ATVs be safer?

When I heard the news there’d been another fatality with an ATV I assumed it was on a farm.

It wasn’t, although that doesn’t make the death any less a tragedy.

It does however, raise a question of what can be done to make quad bikes and ATVs safer.

Federated Farmers is urging more training for recreational users.

That might help but it won’t change the fact that they are big, powerful vehicles which can be difficult to control and are very unforgiving if they roll.

We’ve had two incidents when a quad bike and a its rider have ended up in the irrigation dam – both times the riders were unharmed. Last year one of our dairy workers broke a leg when she rolled a quad and like msot other farms our staff have had minor scrapes.

It’s not difficult to learn the basics of driving quad bikes and ATVs, probably easier than it is to ride a motorbike, but it takes strength, skill and experience to drive them safely.

7 Responses to How can ATVs be safer?

  1. rayinnz says:

    Yes they are dangerous, I had two close shaves on them myself but I did spend alot of time on a quad
    But I feel they are so helpful in that they have allowed the average farmer to continue to keep farming (the average age of farmers has followed my real age faithfully)
    Another point is the accidents per 10000 hours of use is low as we spend so much time on them

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  2. Rob Hosking says:

    “but it takes strength, skill and experience to drive them safely.”

    And a bit of commonsense. They can be treacherous beasts on the hillside, and they also have that ‘whoohoo!’ factor in that you can get some good speeds on them. Its a trap for the unwary, that combination.

    They are very useful for the, ah, more rich in years farmers. They also burn less energy than tractors and – in areas which get a lot of rain – don’t cut up the ground in winter like tractors do.

    I imagine the question of putting roll bars on them has been looked into and found not practical.

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  3. homepaddock says:

    “I imagine the question of putting roll bars on them has been looked into and found not practical.”

    I think roll bars have been investigated and while solving one problem caused another.

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  4. Andrei says:

    In the good old days before ATVs people used to get killed by horses.

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  5. JC says:

    “I think roll bars have been investigated and while solving one problem caused another.”

    Some of them get fitted with a tall and narrow U shaped bar at the rear of the seat. I don’t know the results.

    JC

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  6. gravedodger says:

    With the benefit of my lifetime education including a double degree in stupidity from the “Salt Water Creek University”, the only move to increasing safety is training, a very good knowledge of the capability and loading parameters of each different machine, experience and to often a little luck.
    My first ATV was a Honda Trike that taught a lot of what I refer to above then a succession of Suzukis with their
    independent suspension on the rear wheels that gave my back
    the best comfort I ever found.
    Mrs Gd and I had our own machines on our predominantly steep hill country in the eastern Wairarapa and although we put a strong emphasis on track maintenance the tracks were all mudstone with or without grass and no metal or as the SI would say shingle. Both Machines had frames front and back allowing us to transport up to 14 standard small bales of hay each, very necessary in the winter to combat metabolic disease in the cows. In over 15 years of daily operation we only had three rollovers and they were all runaways from poor or non existant use of the parking brake when excitable and distracted over trying to regain control of an errant canine.
    IMHO there is no safety frame that is not going to become a weapon when things go pearshaped. Most serious injuries are from being struck by the machine as gravity and other laws of physics ensure that even when parted the rider and the machine follow a similar path. Passengers particularly when of the larger variety on smaller machines are a particular danger as the additional weight can more than double the mass of the unladen bike with the resulting instability. It Is always very sad when another person becomes a victim but there a more solutions than accidents but all to often the solution is not available at the accident and that is “sod’s law”.
    Of course the latest accident in the Sounds would have been preventable, but the chances of that happening are not realistic unless we completely ban them.That is not even thinkable, cor blimy we still have an old suzuki as a mechanical wheelbarrow here and the repercussions for the farming community just isn’t thinkable.
    ps to often we hear of “quads” being treated as “toys” or as a “fun machine” for visitors and or tourists and that is a recipe for disaster.

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  7. swinestein says:

    A roll bar would just be something else to hurt you unless you had a seatbelt on. I have rolled a couple of times, one time very lucky as I was pinned under and no way to call for help.

    Like

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