How about don’t drive quad bikes stoned?

November 11th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Banning the use of in farming has been raised as a prospect by a in his written findings into five deaths related to their use.

Coroner Brandt Shortland stopped short of including a ban among his recommendations, saying the quad bike was entrenched as a vital farm tool.

Any speculating on such stuff is pretty silly.

Mendoza died after spending at least two days trapped beneath his quad bike when it overturned during weed spraying in September 2010.

He had been smoking between 30 minutes to five hours before his death.

McInnes was spraying a hilly slope for weeds when his quad bike rolled and crushed him to death in September 2010.

Ferguson died when trapped between her quad bike and an electric fence after trying to tow a trailer of silage up a hill in August 2010.

Cornelius was weed spraying when he was found dead, pinned under his quad bike in September 2011.

He had cannabis in his system consistent with smoking a single cannabis cigarette within three hours of his death.

Van Der Pasch died of a terminal head injury when his quad bike rolled onto his head in September 2011.

So two of the five deaths involved a driving who was stoned while driving the quad bike. I think the lesson is that quad bikes are not dangerous – drivers are.

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33 Responses to “How about don’t drive quad bikes stoned?”

  1. nasska (11,478 comments) says:

    It’s a pity some of the idiot coroners don’t check back on the numbers of farmers & workers who died from horses rolling on them before quads were invented.

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  2. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    My thoughts exactly DPF. Why is the ATV the problem here!

    They’re a tool, and do their job very well. But like most tools, they can be misused and mistakes can be fatal. Heck, I once hit my thumb with a hammer, does that mean that hammers should be banned? No, of course not.

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  3. Longknives (4,737 comments) says:

    This can’t be right- We are always being told that Cannabis is completely harmless…(unlike that evil alcohol- which must be BANNED!)

    *If quad bikes are to go then we should also probably ban Hot Air balloons as well…

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  4. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    They won’t ban quad bikes, and if they try it won’t work.
    There are so many out there and most farmers will just ignore the rules and do it anyway.

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  5. Weihana (4,537 comments) says:

    Longknives (3,281) Says:
    November 11th, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    This can’t be right- We are always being told that Cannabis is completely harmless…(unlike that evil alcohol- which must be BANNED!)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man

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  6. Sector 7g (240 comments) says:

    Socialism/Communism killed 80-100 million people during the twentieth century. Can you ask the coroner if he can recommend banning that?

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  7. brucehoult (195 comments) says:

    Quad bikes are not really bikes, in either design or use. When you fall off a dirt bike weighing typically a tad over 100 kg you can typically get clear of it, or get it off you and the worse likely to happen is a burn from the exhaust pipe.

    Quads weigh anything up to 250+ kg from the factory, plus whatever else farmers add to them.

    They are essentially a small tractor, not a large bike.

    It became compulsory for tractors to have roll bars in I think 1970. Maybe we should look at whether they are practical for quads.

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  8. Rich Prick (1,700 comments) says:

    It is mildly ironic he died weed spraying after smoking dope. Darwin had a little fun with that one.

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  9. Manolo (13,747 comments) says:

    Silent T and the sisterhood to take the coroner’s advice seriously next year, although the Rainbow Branch is concerned about these ugly helmets and how they might ruin their stylish hairdos.

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  10. Yogibear (366 comments) says:

    Given the Coroner’s penchant for isolating cause of harm to 1-2 factors in what is often a complex set of circumstances, we should all be thankful he didn’t say “quad bikes are fine, but I hereby call for farming on anything greater than a 4 degree slope to be banned”

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  11. davidp (3,581 comments) says:

    >Mendoza died after spending at least two days trapped beneath his quad bike when it overturned during weed spraying in September 2010. He had been smoking cannabis between 30 minutes to five hours before his death.

    I don’t understand this. He was trapped for 48 hours before death, but he was smoking 30 minutes to five hours before death. Does that mean he was puffing away on cannabis while he was trapped?

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  12. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    It became compulsory for tractors to have roll bars in I think 1970. Maybe we should look at whether they are practical for quads.

    You can get UTVs with roll cages and with full cabs. They are a much lesser risk than quad bikes, but in New Zealand that doesn’t matter since your worker’s insurance premium is dependant on your business profit not on your risk.

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  13. woodburner (30 comments) says:

    In my days on the farm I have seen some people on quads that I wouldn’t trust with a potato peeler. I do tend think there is a case for mandatory training/education/testing but that approach kind of assumes that ALL farm workers are muppets which is definitely not the case.

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  14. nasska (11,478 comments) says:

    Worth noting is that weed spraying is probably the most dangerous task you can undertake on a quad. The centre of gravity unladen & only with the rider is relatively high for the width of the machine. Add one or two tanks of spray (say about 100kg) about 600mm off ground level driven on hilly terrain & IMHO there exists an accident waiting for a place to happen in.

    Perhaps instead of waffling about helmets & ROPS consideration could be given to using trailer tanks with breakaway couplings.

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  15. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    Would a trailer tanker be any cheaper?

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  16. Fentex (971 comments) says:

    While I concur that quad-bikes are a tool that users need only be careful with like any other dangerous tool there’s no need to ban (axes, knives, hammers et al) I worry that a professional statistician thinks a small specifically selected sample containing a smaller sample of suggestive information is evidence of a fact.

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  17. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    Quad bikes are not dangerous. Riding quad bikes may be dangerous. Riding quad bikes on hillsides whilst laden with other gear is almost certainly dangerous. Riding quad bikes on hillsides whilst laden with other gear when not in full command of your faculties (either because you are stoned, or perhaps because you were a few sandwiches short of a picnic to start with) is probably extremely risky.

    Nothing in life is risk free, and for some reason we’ve created an arm of government who thinks their job is to recommend banning anything that could cause death irrespective of the many people who do it every day without dying.

    I can only assume that a good look at the statistics for people who hurt their back having sex would lead to the recommendation that sex should be banned.

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  18. liarbors a joke (1,069 comments) says:

    .. “ugly helmets and how they might ruin their stylish hairdos.”

    David Parker uses one already as a hair cutting template..funny looking little fella..

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  19. calendar girl (1,232 comments) says:

    Dept of Labour health and safety officers are already out there on farms “advising” people (indeed threatening them with prosecution for not meeting certain requirements). When city-based officers went around farms recently in our area they were found to be:
    – over-staffed for the purpose (now that’s a surprise);
    – less-than-honest in explaining the purposes of their visit;
    – preoccupied with “enforcement” measures (some of them questionable) rather than education / encouragement;
    – equipped with more paper than practical common sense;
    – lacking detailed understanding of quad-bike operation (relying on book-learning); and
    – oblivious to quad-bikes’ productivity and earnings contribution to a farming operation.

    This kind of bureaucratic action is not the answer to quad-bike risk in NZ’s vitally-important agricultural sector. There would be a far greater chance of producing positive outcomes by working constructively with recognised farming organisations, stock & station operators, quad-bike distributors, major processors (like Fonterra) and the horticultural co-operatives.

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  20. nasska (11,478 comments) says:

    gazzmaniac

    Probably more expensive & a pain in the arse to manoeuvre with but anything that gets the weight down near ground level is a major contribution to safety.

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  21. calendar girl (1,232 comments) says:

    Nasska, you’re right about the problem of spraying. But the weight of loaded trailers causes its own problems on slopes.

    Best advice I’ve heard is to have a heavier quad-bike (e.g. 500cc rather than 350cc) and a smaller-capacity tank (e.g. 80 litres rather than 100 litres.) Not practical in all situations, but the principle is worth considering.

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  22. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    @calendar girl @nasska: the underlying problem is one of familiarity breeding contempt, and making choices to minimise time spent. The operator could use a partly filled tank on steeper ground, which would be safer, but that would mean a job would take longer. If you’re:
    a) young and full of testosterone, or
    b) older and full of confidence based on your years of experience
    then you’re unlikely to take that choice. And then a moment of inattention, or a little overreach, and you have an accident. It doesn’t follow that we should ban them any more than it follows that the fact that most cooks cut themselves on their knives once in a while, we should ban knives whilst cooking.

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  23. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    Quad bikes are not really bikes, in either design or use. When you fall off a dirt bike weighing typically a tad over 100 kg you can typically get clear of it, or get it off you and the worse likely to happen is a burn from the exhaust pipe.

    Speaking as someone who *has* been trapped under a bike, you’re full of it. It’s one thing to walk up to something and lift it, it’s quite another to get it off you – especially if you’re tired from a hard day’s riding.

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  24. nasska (11,478 comments) says:

    PaulL

    If you’re using partly full tanks with the leg portions of the tanks filled then I’m with you. Unfortunately there are still a few meatheads who insist on using 40 – 80 litre tanks strapped on to the carriers.

    They’re bloody lethal.

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  25. TheContrarian (1,085 comments) says:

    Quad bikes can be very dangerous but then again so are cars. The difference between dangerous and safety is the capability of the driver

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  26. BlairM (2,339 comments) says:

    Why do coroners think it is their God-given right to be activists and seek the banning of anything under the sun which might possibly harm you? Life is dangerous, that’s reality.

    The only thing that should be banned is coroners telling us things should be banned.

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  27. Colville (2,268 comments) says:

    BlairM.

    I dont have a problem with the Coroner using their soapbox to put out an opinion.

    The Palmy North Coroner recently voiced her opinion that Ewen Macdonald did the Guy murder. Needed to be said.
    Ms na Nagara is a very smart chick!

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  28. Colville (2,268 comments) says:

    Given the Coroner’s penchant for isolating cause of harm to 1-2 factors in what is often a complex set of circumstances, we should all be thankful he didn’t say “quad bikes are fine, but I hereby call for farming on anything greater than a 4 degree slope to be banned”

    I totally agree that anything above 4 degree should be given over to feral deer and pigs !! But I will hunt them on a quad :-)

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  29. flipper (4,051 comments) says:

    Made this point in the GD yesterday, but relevant:

    *** flipper (2,735) Says:
    November 11th, 2013 at 2:35 pm
    Weihana (4,042) Says:
    November 11th, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    “But in findings released today, Coroner Brandt Shortland stopped short of including a ban among his recommendations, saying the quad bike was entrenched as a vital farm tool. ”

    A vital farm tool.
    *****
    Dick head coroners at play… yet again.

    As Outside The Beltway noted in its “Demolishing” paper, published in January 2012:

    *** “… In the real world, pontification by Coronial Courts is largely irrelevant, especially when it is known that many coroners have little worldly experience outside a sleepy law practice. Coroners are, by definition, endowed with 20-20 hindsight. His/her recommendations may make good media headlines, and may sound wonderful in theory, but mostly they simply add to nanny state. ”
    Summed to a T. ***

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  30. RRM (9,917 comments) says:

    Ffs, cars “kill hundreds” every year, ban cars?? No I thought not.

    Someone mentioned falling off a horse earlier… I rode a horse once (on a horse trekking kick with other like-minded townies) and it had no trouble at all keeping its footing on ground that I would have struggled to walk on much less ride a bike or a quad on. Horses know where they’re going, they rarely smoke dope and they aren’t silly – unlike some farmhands…

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  31. wf (441 comments) says:

    Gosh the farmers would hate quads being banned: they’d have to go back to horses and lose a couple of cows because of the grass horses eat. And horses are SLOW! They’d actually have to be stockmen as well. Catch, saddle, and ride the horse, whistle up the dog, drive the stock. Take time.

    Actually it seems that some are going back to horses, partly because the farmhands are too careless with their quads, and partly because the stock move better in front of horses.

    I’ve ridden horses all my life but never been so terrified as when I was riding behind a chap on a quad who was a speed merchant. I thought we were going to roll as we careened round the side of a hill.

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  32. gravedodger (1,566 comments) says:

    Guns do not kill people, people kill people.

    Quad bikes do not kill people, people kill people and around quadbikes, nearly always themselves.

    Improper use, poor understanding of geometry and center of gravity,and on rare occasions just plain bad luck so lets ban bad luck and stupid.

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  33. Gulag1917 (915 comments) says:

    New Zealand is 80% hilly, expect deaths.

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