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Victorian ATV Subsidies Should Include Helmets and Training, SAys FCAI

A more scientific approach is needed on ATV safety, and Victorian taxpayer money could be better spent on the strong promotion of known safety practices such as helmets and rider training says the Australia’s peak industry body representing ATV manufacturers.

While the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) has welcomed the NSW and Victorian governments’ interest in the ATV safety issue debate, it believes the Victorian rebate announced last week should be focussed on the known benefits of helmets and accredited rider training.

The Chief Executive of the FCAI, Tony Weber, said that while there’s clearly a strong desire among the governments to be seen to do something to support ATV safety, a rebate scheme has been rushed in to subsidise a so-called safety device which is not supported by scientific evidence.

“We believe the Victorian and NSW governments, in their rush to be seen to be doing something, are ignoring the best evidence available and using farmers to test an unproven and potentially dangerous product,” Mr Weber said.

Very little research has been carried out by the promoters of Crush Protection Devices to prove their effectiveness, and the work that has been carried out has been independently identified as falling short of being able to be relied upon, as was revealed during a recent Coronial inquest in Queensland.

A wide body of research from a very experienced US engineering firm, Dynamic Research Inc. (DRI) has done extensive testing to show that so-called CPDs for ATVs can cause as many new injuries as they may prevent.”

He said the DRI study shows these devices do not meet the required standard of a ‘safety device’ as outlined in the International Standard ISO 13232-5, as the number of injuries caused by these devices was too high.

“Various experts and engineers debated the pros and cons of fitting CPDs during the Queensland Coronial Inquest into Quad Bike fatalities, and at the conclusion, the deputy state Coroner did not recommend fitting CPDs, but instead said that more work was required,” Mr Weber said.

“The industry’s strong conviction is that, much like the mandatory wearing of helmets for all motorcycle riders, we need a really big promotional push by government and safety authorities to also wear helmets. If we can convince quad bike riders to wear helmets, then the scientific evidence indicates we could get as much as a 60 per cent reduction in head injury.”

In the release of its recent 5-Star Safety messaging, the FCAI outlined five known safety practices aimed at improving outcomes.  The FCAI believes that government assistance would be better directed toward providing support for messages around safe riding practices such as preventing children riding adult-sized ATVs, wearing appropriate protective gear, and preventing passengers riding on single seat ATVs. The 5-Star Safe ATV User Guide can be viewed on the FCAI’s website at www.atvsafety.com.au.