The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has welcomed a commitment from Consumer affairs Ministers from across Australia and New Zealand to take decisive action towards the instatement of a five-star safety rating for quad bikes.
The ministers met in Melbourne last week and agreed to “expedite the regulatory impact assessment processes needed to introduce the rating system and associated safety standards”.
NFF President Fiona Simson said quad bikes represented a significant risk to farmers, farming families, farm workers and farm visitors.
“Quad bike incidents are the leading cause of accidental death on Australian farms.
“ Tragically, both adults and children are all too often killed or seriously injured from quad bikes.
“The NFF supports sensible measures to improve quad bike safety and to reduce the number of fatalities caused by the popular piece of farm equipment.”
During August, Tasmanian Coroner Simon Cooper called for legislative reforms to quad bike safety and for the development of “a star rating system” and New Zealand Coroner Brigitte Windley recommended the New Zealand Government should “set, implement and enforce” quad bike safety standards and consider “a national five-star safety rating system for quad bikes”.
Ms. Simson said while a five-star safety system may be complex to develop, the NFF believed it would serve as a reminder to farmers that safety must be a key factor when buying a quad bike.
“We want consumers to make informed choices and to be aware of the relative risk each vehicle poses.
“It would also provide manufacturers with a commercial reason to build safety into their product.”
Ms. Simson praised the Ministers for their commitment and said it was now important to get the support of manufacturers.
“Until now, despite the self-evident merits of safety rating systems, there has been significant push back from quad bike manufacturers.
“In some instances, manufacturers are promoting specious ‘five-star safe user guides’ which are designed to confuse the consumer into thinking safety is just a matter of behaviour rather than scientific evidence and design.”
Ms. Simson said the NFF will continue working with governments and manufacturers to see a quad bike five-star safety rating become a reality.