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ATV helmets coming out

ATV helmets coming out

Specially designed helmets aimed at reducing deaths and head injuries from ATV accidents are coming available in the next month.

The helmets, developed with sponsorship and funding from ACC, are being manufactured to Standards New Zealand specifications by Pacific Helmets (NZ) and Ferrentino Manufacturing.

ACC Programme Manager John Wallaart says extensive publicity about the dangers posed by ATVs or quad bikes has made users more aware of the dangers.

But research indicates that ATV riders are generally oblivious to the risk of head injury if something goes wrong on an ATV, with the risk of broken limbs or crush injuries foremost in their thinking.

But Mr Wallaart said head injuries are not infrequent and they can be much more devastating.

"The sad thing about head injuries is that the victim may never make a full recovery and this can pose an enormous burden on families, with devastating consequences to their financial as well as emotional security," Wallaart said.

"The good news is that the risk of head injury and fatality due to head injury can be substantially reduced by wearing a helmet."

In New Zealand, ATVs are involved in a third of accidental deaths on farms. In the 1990-99 period, 3921 people were hospitalised due to ATV related events.

An ACC-commissioned review of international research into ATV accidents found helmet wearing on ATVs could substantially reduce the risk of death or injury.

"US and British research suggests a helmet could reduce the risk of death by 42 percent and non fatal head injuries by 64 percent," Mr Wallaart said.

"But farmers are not keen on helmets because the think the risk of injury is low."

Analysis of ATV claims to ACC undertaken by the Centre for Human Factors and Ergonomics (COHFE) at Massey University dispelled several misconceptions about the risks posed by quad bikes.

One surprise was that it wasn't just the "young hoons" who were getting into trouble on ATVs.

Of the 850 "entitlement claims" (claims that required more than just straight forward medical treatment) in the 13 months to July 2001, the 41 to 50 age group was the largest represented.

These were experienced users, as was the next largest group, the 31 to 40 year-olds.

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