Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Monday 19 November 2018

'When a quad bike falls on you, you choke with the weight of it'

ATVs give farmers 'false confidence', warns safety expert

There are no specific safety regulations use of quad bikes in Ireland. Stock picture
There are no specific safety regulations use of quad bikes in Ireland. Stock picture
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

Calling quad bikes ATVs (All-Terrain Vehicles) gives farmers a "false sense of confidence", an Australian safety expert has told a Teagasc safety conference.

Of the 104 people who were killed in quad bike accidents on Australian farms between 2011 and 2016, only 12pc were wearing helmets.

Susan Brumby, director of the Australian National Centre for Farmer Health, told the Teagasc conference that the Australian government are examining ways to reduce quad fatalities and injuries.

She said quad bikes are no longer called ATVs in Australia as this misleads farmers.

"Calling them ATVs gives a false sense of confidence to farmers. People put equipment on them that they're not designed to carry and that affects the centre of gravity," she said.

Ms Brumby added that results from research carried out by her organisation show that 60pc of quad-bike drivers never wear helmets.

In an effort to combat quad accidents, she explained that a TV advertisement is being shown in different regions in Australia to highlight the dangers of quad bikes.

She added that she doesn't think farmers are aware that a quad bike has the ability to crush a person to death when a collision occurs.

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"They're very unstable. When a quad bike falls on you the weight of the quad bike asphyxiates you. It catches you in the lungs," she said.

"You choke because you cannot expand your lungs because of the weight and I don't think people realise that's how it happens. The quad bike lands on top of you and you can't move.

Teagasc Health and Safety specialist Dr John McNamara said that research is taking place looking in to lighter helmets that might be more attractive for farmers to wear while operating the quad, as motorbike helmets are quite heavy.

Twelve people have died in Ireland over the last decade in farm accidents involving quad bikes.

There are no specific safety regulations use of quad bikes in Ireland.

This has prompted Fianna Fail deputy leader Dara Calleary to introduce a Dáil Bill to improve quad safety.

Mr Calleary said the absence of laws governing quad use in Ireland "can no longer continue".

Headgear

"Earlier this year the county coroner in Mayo recommended implementing anti-roll bars on quad bikes, following the tragic death of a farmer," he said.

"Sadly, this was not a unique case: 15pc of all farm machinery deaths between 2007-16 were due to quad accidents.

"A major factor in these deaths was the loss of control of the vehicle resulting in the driver being crushed or pinned by the bike," said Mr Calleary.

"The All-Terrain Vehicle Safety Bill 2018 makes it mandatory for quad bikes to have anti-roll bars and will make protective headgear compulsory for anyone driving them."


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