Compulsory helmets for quad bikes

January 7th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald editorial:

The industry guidelines are not, of course, a legal requirement. That, in itself, may be reinforcing a cavalier attitude. Coroners, in voicing their safety concerns, have suggested the likes of full or partial roll bars and laps belts, as well as making the guidelines a matter of legal compulsion. The practicality and impact of roll bars have been disputed by farmers. They may have a point, but the circumstances of the Hawkes Bay accident reinforce the case for the compulsory use of safety helmets and preventing those under 15 from riding them.

Ashlee Petrowski’s plight should prompt the Government to investigate whether the industry guidelines should become mandatory. Such an intrusive step should not be taken lightly. are a vital tool on farms. But accidents will continue as long as there is a lax attitude towards safety. Last year’s toll indicates that education programmes have not been a total success in altering attitudes and dangerous practices.

Recklessness remains a concern. So, too, does the impact of stress and fatigue from working long hours, which the police have identified as a cause of some quad-bike crashes. Whatever the reason, there seems, increasingly, to be little reason for rural areas to be exempt from urban safety standards.

Applying the rules of the road, to private land is a huge intrusion. And as awful as the injuries are to young Ashlee, I’m sorry but can you just imagine farmers being forced to drive around their own properties wearing helmets. Will never ever happen!

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52 Responses to “Compulsory helmets for quad bikes”

  1. kowtow (6,690 comments) says:

    Shit journalism from the MSM. But then why expect much from these clowns.

    To use the Ashlee case to force farmers to belt up etc is plain nonsense. She was on a quad with 4 adults ,the bike wasn’t being used in a work capacity either and there ‘s a suggestion drink was involved.

    Once again organs of the state and the MSM seeking to legislate against stupidity .That only punishes the careful and law abiding while the idiots will always break the law ,it solves nothing.

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  2. gump (1,228 comments) says:

    DPF said “Applying the rules of the road, to private land is a huge intrusion.”

    The rules of the road already apply to private land in many circumstances.

    Supermarket carparks are a common example. Their entrance lanes are on private land, but drivers are required to abide by the road rules and obey all road signage.

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  3. cha (3,529 comments) says:

    To use the Ashlee case to force farmers to belt up etc is plain nonsense.

    Really?.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/8150115/Rakaia-farmer-dies-after-quad-bike-accident

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  4. gump (1,228 comments) says:

    For more clarification, see the NZTA website:

    http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/what-is-a-road/what-is-a-road.html

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  5. bringbackdemocracy (350 comments) says:

    Let’s solve the problem of crime in Auckland by putting the people of Christchurch in prison.

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  6. Viking2 (10,703 comments) says:

    5 on a bike, two in front of the handle bars, driver two more pissed as newts. and someone thinks laws will fix the brain dead. Darwins principle applies.

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  7. Bill (19 comments) says:

    You should need training,and a special license, to ride them.
    They are bloody dangerous, with the narrow wheelbase, and used on hilly land.
    A recipe for disaster.

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  8. Redbaiter (6,464 comments) says:

    In NZ, its an idea that will fly.

    NZers are lame limp easily herded sheep, and all it needs is for their elitist government caregivers to arrange an advertising campaign on TV One and or TV 3 and the locals will go for it like bees go for honey.

    Loser limp wet statists who lost their individuality decades ago.

    (as a couple of the comments above demonstrate so well)

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  9. kowtow (6,690 comments) says:

    Yeah bill chainsaws ,ladders,kitchen knives,soap,boiling water,electric fires………………

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  10. Ed Snack (1,535 comments) says:

    Right, more rules to apply to a group who quite clearly ignored a number of existing ones. They traveled some of the time on public roads so a plethora of rules applied, none of which they observed.

    Shouldn’t there be some more rules, some on “writing in a newspaper while obviously delusional and stupid” ? Worth a chance that it might work…

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  11. Nigel (503 comments) says:

    I used to wear a helmet & that was 30 off years ago, though our farm was steep enough & it was 2 wheel country.

    You are talking 4 quad deaths a year, if helmet regs stand even a chance, you’d need to prove that they would make a difference to the fatality/serious injury stats, which given the weight of a quad would be tricky, not to mention that one 2012 fatality was caused by high voltage power lines.

    They’ve become very expensive to be honest & maybe the smarter option is to encourage farmers to use more Mule ( Kawasaki ) style vehicles vs quads, using advertising comparing safety records & maybe even an ACC levy on the purchase price that reflects the relative costs ( though adding ACC costs is a bit of a slippery slope ).

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  12. MT_Tinman (2,790 comments) says:

    cha (1,841) Says:
    January 7th, 2013 at 11:12 am
    To use the Ashlee case to force farmers to belt up etc is plain nonsense.

    Really?.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/8150115/Rakaia-farmer-dies-after-quad-bike-accident

    Yes!

    You’ll note from the quoted story the cocky was found on the side of a road.

    Helmets on the road fair enough but not on private property. NZ already has far too many laws intruding on private property.

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  13. cha (3,529 comments) says:

    Exempted.

    http://www.nzta.govt.nz/licence/assistance/exemptions.html#motorcycle

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  14. flipper (3,268 comments) says:

    Gump…small query….
    Are not supermarkjet car parks designated as a “road” under the transport regs on the basis that they are available to all?
    May be wrong, but seem to recall that.

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  15. flipper (3,268 comments) says:

    Gump, Apols missed some of your comment.

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  16. flipper (3,268 comments) says:

    Have a son-in-law who farms, but also owns , sells and maintains Honda 4 wheel quads.

    He says it is a oiad of bollocks, on the basis that:

    1. Seat belts will add to the danger nit reduce it, and
    2. Roll bars would be necessary, but they alter the stablity of the quad and reduce its utility value.
    3. Helmets would make no difference since the crush injuries would over-ride the protection of a helt, even if a farmer or farm worker could be “made” to use one.

    This nonsense has been previously proposed by uninformed coroners. It was rubbiushed by the folk that really know.

    There ios onloy oine solution – EDUCATION IN SAFE PRACTIUCES.

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  17. Tom Jackson (2,235 comments) says:

    Helmets on the road fair enough but not on private property.

    It’s not a completely unreasonable request. Quad bikes are pretty dangerous. I certainly wouldn’t ride one if I could help it. To be perfectly honest, motorcycles are worse (when I did my bike license the instructor spent a lot of the time reminding us what morons we were for wanting to ride motorcycles – he was right).

    Because we have public health care, the consequences of such accidents fall upon us all and not just upon the victim. So what if the law is paternalistic? Many safety laws are paternalistic for the simple reason that they combat widespread public recklessness. Since nobody has discovered a better way of dealing with this than compulsion, we have compulsion. Sure, nobody likes being told what to do, but the alternative is worse.

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  18. Redbaiter (6,464 comments) says:

    It is just the same old socialist crap.

    Find a problem and magnify it so that it becomes a public concern.

    Appoint a team of bureaucrats to solve the problem.

    Bureaucrats find a need for greater regulation involving fines and prosecutions, all to be selectively applied because the regs are impossible to enforce anyway.

    Whats the gain?

    Zero except we are a view steps closer to becoming the Soviet Union of the new century.

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  19. KevinH (1,128 comments) says:

    The solution of course will always be unpalatable to Redbaiter,however Nigels’ post contains a practical suggestion and that is get ACC involved.One death is one to many,especially for the families involved, and any method employed to increase farmer’s safety awareness as well as the safety of recreational user’s would save a lot of despair.
    I am also from a rural background and know full well the dangers and risks encountered on the farm, hilly muddy land, rain wind and snow, but regardless of that still make a point of being safe especially when you are out on your own.

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  20. F E Smith (3,273 comments) says:

    Would a requirement that quad bike users wear helmets on private property also mean that Police would be able to enter said private property without a warrant for the purposes of enforcement?

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  21. jims_whare (389 comments) says:

    Many farmers are already wearing ag helmets (not m/cycle helmets) now due to the risk of OSH prosecuting them in the event of an accident involving their staff.

    Its a defacto way of making it compulsory by the DOL charging farm owners by saying that they didn’t provide a reasonable protection to their staff by way of a helmet.

    I and my 4 farm staff all wear them – not that big a deal though I do have a lot of concerns about their actual effectiveness in the event of a crash.

    As stated previously their are 3 factors in ATV crashes.

    1 Lack of understanding of safe handling techniques on an ATV (Body weight shifting, correct braking etc.)
    2 Lack of attention. (Someone who is trained but rides along in a dream world not paying attention)
    3 Poor Judgement. ( Don’t make appropriate decisions when faced with difficult terrain)

    The other side factors such as drunken idiots late at night & allowing little kids to ride ATV’s is simply human stupidity and there is no law that will stop that.

    Licences for Quadbikes won’t work. Look at cars. Most crashes that happen were by lawfully licensed drivers – a piece of plastic won’t protect you in a crash.

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  22. flipper (3,268 comments) says:

    FES….
    Zinggggg!!!! :)

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  23. Redbaiter (6,464 comments) says:

    FES- no one in NZ gives a fuck about that old outdated concept of “private property”.

    For fuck’s sake man, we’re all one now, and no one owns any private property anymore. “Society” owns all the property.

    We gave up that right long ago by giving the government permission to run an accident insurance scheme, and a health service.

    Get up to speed man, today we’re in socialist Nirvana, and private property has been a defunct concept for decades now.

    Next thing you’ll be whining piteously about such similarly anachronistic concerns as liberty and individual freedom.

    What a fucking dinosaur.

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  24. Rex Widerstrom (5,124 comments) says:

    Whatever the reason, there seems, increasingly, to be little reason for rural areas to be exempt from urban safety standards.

    What idiot wrote this? When I ran a security company which specialised in guarding film sets the crew would often leave a couple of quad bikes out so we could cover what was often a large area quaickly and prevent expensive vandalism (because while it might cost little in dollar terms to fix, defacing a film set could mean dozens of people paid to sit round and do nothing the next day).

    These sites were places such as just under the Wellington wind turbine, or the Horokiwi quarry, not “rural areas”. We were offered no training in the use of the quad bokes, no safety gear and… best of all… they had no lights. I remember careering along a road at the quarry to chase off some idiots who’d come up to do burnouts and hoping there was enough moonlight for me to see any corners. If I’d headed off a corner into mid-air (Wylie E. Coyote-style) no amount of roll bars, helmet or seat belt would have saved me. So I guess I failed point 3 of jims_whare’s competency test.

    But the point is, what would have made us safe was proper instruction and training in the use of the equipment. Not ineffective safety gear. Not yet another oppressive law (and given that we were on private property to which the public did not have lawful access, we weren’t riding on a “road”, as defined in statute, anyway. And not assuming that it’s only rural people who face any peril from their use.

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  25. Bill (19 comments) says:

    Darwinian solutions.
    Stupid people kill themselves.
    So what!

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  26. eszett (2,264 comments) says:

    cha (1,842) Says:
    January 7th, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Exempted.

    http://www.nzta.govt.nz/licence/assistance/exemptions.html#motorcycle

    Gotta love this:

    However, you’re not required to wear a helmet if:

    you’re on an all-terrain vehicle, a motorcycle, or a moped and
    you can prove you’re a member of the Sikh religion, and
    you’re travelling up to 50 km/h

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  27. Megan (12 comments) says:

    Um I’m pretty sure its already compulsory on farm- if not by NZTA standards, It is by Department of Labour standards. Fed Farmers has argued that the industry regulations and messaging should be extended to recreational users.

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  28. nasska (9,489 comments) says:

    Megan

    It applies to employees via OSH regulations. If you run your own farm without staff as I do the inspectors don’t even bother calling about anything.

    With contractors, eg spreading, cultivation, spreading are, as far as I am aware, the responsibilty lies with their employer.

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  29. labrator (1,691 comments) says:

    …maybe the smarter option is to encourage farmers to use more Mule ( Kawasaki )…

    One of the ‘quad bike’ deaths for 2012 was on a mule.

    Considering how many people die in cars every year, how come compulsory helmets haven’t been rolled out already? The multi-million dollar ACC ads make it very clear how poor modern cars are at protecting occupants from common road hazards.

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  30. Kea (10,451 comments) says:

    It is none of the governments business and they do not need to have an opinion on it.

    The claim that it is the governments business, because of the cost of medical care, is false. If that were the case, rugby, would be banned outright. People are free to wear helmets and impliment any other safety measures, without the goverment imposing it.

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  31. Jaffa (66 comments) says:

    You can’t legislate against stupidity.

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  32. 2boyz (230 comments) says:

    Remember trikes, so many serious injuries in the USA from unskilled riders hurting themselves. They ended up being pulled from the market. Quads are useful farm tools and for recreational purposes can be a lot of fun, farm quads in general have limited suspension travel and nice big bouncy tyres (relative to the size of the vehicle) start moving too fast and you get a bit of a perfect storm handling wise. Better training I say, helmets yes. Seatbelts no, as least there is the option to bail if the quad looks like tipping over.

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  33. Dean Papa (614 comments) says:

    helmet wearing for quad bikes to be optional, as long as quad rider signs waiver to effect that in the event of incident, he/she is to be left in whatever mangled state they are found. Our Doctors and nurses have better things to do than tend to dickheads.

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  34. KiwiGreg (3,129 comments) says:

    “With contractors, eg spreading, cultivation, spreading are, as far as I am aware, the responsibilty lies with their employer.”

    It’s your workplace so you can (and it seems if you are big enough will) be held accountable for contractors’ employees.

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  35. nasska (9,489 comments) says:

    2boyz

    The three wheelers were lethal…..having to lean in the opposite direction to break ground contact with the inside rear wheel when turning went against everything you were taught to do when learning to ride a bike.

    One of the things overlooked when people start rabbiting on about quad safety is the amount of time farmers & their employees spend on the things. A quad off a sheep/beef farm has probably travelled 25/30,000Kms in three years….dairy farmers do considerably less but still spend a large part of their working day on the machine. It stands to reason that there will be accidents & occasional fatalities but the same can be said for the horses that preceded them.

    Rollbars will get caught up in overhanging scrub & seatbelts will be worse than bloody useless. The best advice if things start to go pear shaped on a bike or quad is usually to bail off…..it’s hard enough to do without having to uncouple a seat belt at the same time. In any case most serious injuries/fatalities are when the bike (250/300kg) comes down on top of you.

    The whole half witted initiatives are being driven by idiot ‘mummy knows best’ coroners & public servants rubbing their slimy little hands together at the thought of being able to stick their officious noses into another aspect of business life.

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  36. Colville (1,769 comments) says:

    Darwinian solutions.
    Stupid people kill themselves.
    So what!

    Na its usually a badly broken leg or pelvis….

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  37. nasska (9,489 comments) says:

    KiwiGreg

    I know I have to identify hazards & eliminate them etc but I was lead to believe that worksafe practises & safety equipment was the responsibility of the contractors. It’s no big deal in my case as the only outside contractors I use are for spreading & shearing & they seem to have their ducks in a row.

    I will check though.

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  38. Colville (1,769 comments) says:

    3 very drunk adult men on the back of a quad with a young sober woman holding a 6 year old on the front lose control while driving on a gravel public road around 11.00 pm and go over a bank. Need to be locked up for a long time.

    The freaking rescue chopper kept me awake but the search light they were using made us wonder if a bad bad bad man was running loose!

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  39. Colville (1,769 comments) says:

    nasska, I was pillion on a Honda 500 last week it was less than 3 yrs and had done 3300 hrs, I was shootiong goats for a guy and he was ferrying me about and man couild he drive that thing!

    3300 hrs/3/365 = 3 hrs a day 7 days a week. Its a lot.

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  40. Colville (1,769 comments) says:

    nasska, your farm doesnt happen to abound the Conservation Estate by any chance? :-)

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  41. nasska (9,489 comments) says:

    Colville

    Some cockies nearly have to get the seat of their bike surgically removed from their arse at the end of a long day. Rough estimates for sheep & beef are 10km for each hour of use.

    I’m not far from the Forest park but I don’t share any common boundary with it.

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  42. Colville (1,769 comments) says:

    Thanks nasska, always looking for new places to go for an armed wander.

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  43. Steve (North Shore) (4,318 comments) says:

    Making a Law for compulsary helmets to be worn is fine, justs costs more money.
    However the helmet is useless if it has nothing to protect

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  44. Kea (10,451 comments) says:

    Is there any evidence that helmets will save more lives?

    How many die from head injuries alone?

    Too often these laws are imposed on us in an appeal to the emotion to “do something” without any supporting evidence. Cycle helmets are a great example. This absurd law was imposed on us all because some grieving crazy woman’s kid had a knock to the head. Actual studies show cycle helmets in a different light.

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  45. Bodger (12 comments) says:

    Superb concept that actually achieves something: http://www.kaiparalifestyler.co.nz/Of_Interest.cfm?NewsID=5098

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  46. Kea (10,451 comments) says:

    Bodger, if it is so superb, then there will be no need for central government to force people to use it.

    Only bad ideas require the force of the armed State to support them.

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  47. Left Right and Centre (2,388 comments) says:

    Some interesting comments from real people actually in the know….

    It would be nice if the goons with lawmaking powers actually bother to listen to anyone who actually knows about quads.

    How many quads are there in NZ?

    And I’d be interested in their history… when did they first start appearing? What did they replace?

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  48. nasska (9,489 comments) says:

    LR&C

    …” when did they first start appearing? What did they replace?”……

    In the early/mid 80′s they were gaining real market penetration although they were fairly low powered & uncomfortable. Early models were only 2WD but developments & innovations happened quickly.

    They generally replaced the Landrovers & two wheel farm bikes.

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  49. Camryn (549 comments) says:

    Three wheelers were pretty common for a while too… now *those* were death traps. Going downhill you either stayed dead straight or the back would just go over the front wheel.

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  50. Colville (1,769 comments) says:

    They generally replaced the Landrovers & two wheel farm bikes.

    nasska, you forgot to mention that other antiquated concept….. walking!

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  51. pq (728 comments) says:

    they need roll cages

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  52. Dazzaman (1,114 comments) says:

    Having flicked around on these things for a few years on the nursery & occasionally while fencing, they’re not dangerous if you know what you’re doing…..it’s common sense really. As Camryn points out, those 3 wheelers were dodgy as….you had to lean out while cornering too, just not right!

    Roll cages make them a nuisance & unusable for carrying stuff on them. Helmets? The young blokes wouldn’t wear them….what can you do? Belts? A hazard that would pin you in the rare event of a roll.

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