Battle looms for quad bikes

By Country News

Some quad bike manufacturers are resisting calls for the introduction of mandatory rollover protection in Australia.

Two manufacturers have threatened to withdraw from the Australian market if mandatory laws are introduced.

The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission estimates that 16 people die each year in quad bike accidents, with half of those involving rollovers where a person is crushed.

An ACCC report has found that quad bikes should be fitted with, or have integrated into their design, an operator protection device or OPD.

‘‘The available information indicates after-market OPDs improve the safety of quad bike operators,’’ the report found.

‘‘There has been no reliable evidence provided to the ACCC that presents an alternate conclusion.

‘‘While it is noted that in some situations after-market OPDs may contribute to injuries, these are usually minor relative to crush injuries and asphyxiation.

‘‘Quad bikes with OPDs will improve the safety of consumers and reduce fatalities where an operator would have otherwise been pinned underneath the quad bike with a force sufficient to cause asphyxia or serious chest injuries,’’ the ACCC report found.

‘‘The relative efficacy of after-market OPDs compared to OPDs integrated into the device of a vehicle is not known.

‘‘The Polaris Ace is an example of a hybrid vehicle that has integrated an OPD into its design and made other design changes to suit the specifications and performance of the vehicle, including fitting seatbelts and a steering wheel.’’

The ACCC said manufacturers had a commercial incentive to produce safe and effective OPDs and at the design stage, quad bike manufacturers should consider whether an after-market or in-house developed OPD would best suit the specifications and performance of quad bike models.