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Tasmanian Coroner Releases Quad Bike Inquest Findings and Recommendations

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) has welcomed the findings of the Tasmanian Coronial Inquest into seven ‘quad bike’ (or ATV) fatalities which were released today (Friday, 25 August 2017).

The FCAI strongly supports the Coroner’s recommendation that helmets be mandatory.

The Chief Executive of the FCAI, Tony Weber said that encouraging the wearing of a helmet was one of the industry’s most important safety messages for ATV riders.

“Helmets are known to be the most effective safety device for ‘ride-on’ type vehicles like ATVs and motorcycles,” Mr Weber said.

This commitment is demonstrated by the industry’s recent development and release of the Shark ATV helmet, which is specifically designed for Australian conditions. Industry research shows that 30 per cent of Australian ATV fatalities would have been avoided if the rider had been wearing a helmet.

In the Tasmanian inquest, the Coroner found that 4 of the 7 deaths would not have occurred if the rider had been wearing a properly secured helmet.

The Coroner also noted that none of those involved had received formal rider training and consequently recommended mandated training for all riders. ATV manufacturers are strong supporters of training and agree with Coroner Cooper’s view that the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America ATV course should be adopted in Australia.

The FCAI also strongly agrees with the Coroner’s recommendations that consideration be given to legislation prohibiting children under 16 years of age from riding full-sized ATVs, and prohibiting passengers from single seat ATVs. Currently, the tragic reality is that children under 16 riding full-sized ATVs make up 20 per cent of all fatalities.

In accordance with the Coroner’s recommendation, the industry looks forward to continuing to work with industrial safety authorities to implement the American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) vehicle design standard for ATVs, here in Australia, consistent with similar recommendations made by QLD and NSW Coroners.

In further recommendations from the Tasmanian hearing, the Coroner also called for research to investigate the development of an appropriate star rating system to assist purchasers to make informed decisions when choosing a vehicle.

The FCAI and ATV Industry have commissioned an international engineering firm to develop criteria for such a safety rating system. This system will be evidence-based, so that suggested improvements will have positive outcomes for users.

In relation to so-called ‘crush protection devices’, the Coroner found that, in light of all of the research about fitting them, “it is impossible to conclude that, as contended by the proponents of such devices, fitment to quad bikes should be recommended”.

This Coronial finding is consistent with previous findings of NSW and QLD Coroners, who, having carefully reviewed the scientific evidence, both declined to recommend fitment of CPDs.

The industry believes that this finding should be recognised and accepted by stakeholders, including regulators, and that it should encourage focus on advocacy of the safety practices that are known to save lives: helmets, training, children and passengers off inappropriate vehicles, and following the manufacturer’s recommendations for safe use of ATVs.

For more information on safety practices visit: