Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Education will help quad bike safety

Education will help quad bike safety

Jeanette Maxwell is Federated Farmers Health & Safety spokesperson and is chairperson of Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre and a version has been published in the Dominion Post.

Quad bikes have been in the news following two deaths and several injuries over the Christmas and New Year period.

Most incomprehensible was the incident in which 6-year-old Ashlee Shorrock suffered serious injuries after being flung from a quad bike that veered off a Hawke's Bay road late at night. What were she and the four adults also injured in the crash doing on the bike in the first place?

However, while it may not seem like it from the intense media coverage, quad bike deaths and serious injuries remain relatively rare despite the 100,000 machines in New Zealand.

While quad bikes are dangerous if mishandled and the farm toll is serious and must come down, we fear that politicians will respond to the media coverage by jumping at ''solutions''. In one episode of Britain's Yes Prime Minister, a prime minister worried about his low popularity decides to act on a press-fuelled scandal. The Cabinet secretary asks when he reached such a momentous decision, to which the prime minister replies: ''today, when I read the papers''.

While we grieve for Rakaia's Hamish Baxter, found lying beside his quad bike on January 5; there is no surge in farm-related quad bike deaths.

New Zealand has more quad bikes than registered motorcycles. Motorcycle riders must be licensed and their bikes registered and warranted. Police enforce helmet use and other road safety laws.

Yet, despite such a heavily regulated environment, 45 people were killed in accidents involving motorcycles last year. Over 1000 were injured.

Motorcycle riders must be licensed and their bikes registered and warranted. They are also ridden on maintained roads surrounded by other licensed road users driving registered and warranted vehicles. There is also a police presence to enforce helmet use and other road safety laws.

When it comes to quad bikes, there seem to have been seven quad bike fatalities in 2012. If I am hesitant, it is because statistics take time to finalise.

Of those seven quad bike deaths, five appear to have been farm-related and two recreational in nature. Of the five farm-related deaths, one was not related to the vehicle. Horrendously, it was caused by electrocution.


While ''850 people on average'' are said to be injured on quad bikes each year, the number of serious harm notifications in 2011/2012 is provisionally 84.

The quad bike focus indicates sections of our media seem to have become desensitised to the larger road and drowning tolls. Safety also happens to be split between various agencies and ministries, with each pursuing a different agenda with finite resources.

If we are to regulate quad bikes then it begs the question of why and what. On the farm, speed is less of a factor than loss of control and rollover. A quad bike is like any other bike and needs to be actively ridden by its user.

While rollover protection or ROPS has been looked into, the consensus is that it takes as many lives as it saves. Rollover protection changes weight distribution and can also require harnesses to be effective, restricting a user's ability to ride safely.

Newer quad bikes are superior in design and have added safety features. There are also other vehicle choices, but to Federated Farmers, the big three issues are helmets, education and training.

While unconnected to farming, Water Safety New Zealand's Matt Claridge delivered compelling arguments for education and training on RadioLIVE late last year.

Asked if ''water police'' were needed to enforce lifejacket use, Mr Claridge said what was needed was a change in mindset. He also said education would deliver the biggest gain. Mr Claridge added that a seatbelt did not protect people from reckless driving but education helped them to make better decisions.

People need to take personal responsibility, they need to learn how to accurately assess risk and be responsible around children.

A helmet will not save you in a quad bike accident if that bike is pushed beyond its limits. Just as with water safety, quad bike safety is about education and training to get farmers and recreational users to own the issue. As quad bike safety messaging is aimed at farmers my fear is that weekend enthusiasts are being missed.

Adult quad bikes are big and powerful machines demanding physical maturity and training to safely use them. Despite the many hours a farmer will sit on one, they remain relatively safer than a motorcycle.

If we are to have a real discussion about regulation then we need to know why and what we are regulating for.
ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Budget

It may seem like Oliver to be so bold as to ask the Finance Minister for more gruel – but what the Dickens, Steven Joyce… is this Budget really as good as it gets?

Supposedly, the public was going to receive significant rewards – an election year lolly scramble no less – for the eight years of belt tightening that they’ve endured, and for the rundown of essential public services.

Well, what Budget 2017 delivered instead in Education and in Health were allocations barely sufficient to maintain the current levels of service delivery More>>

Scoop Full Coverage: of Budget Announcements & Reaction
Latest: Scoop Search

 
 

Carer Settlement: Threat Of Staff Exodus In Mental Health

As a result of the recent pay rise awarded to their aged care and disability sector colleagues, many staff in non-government mental health and addiction organisations are considering leaving to join these workforces. More>>

ALSO:

Climate Policy: New Zealand Set To Blow Its Carbon Budget By 27%

The Government’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory shows New Zealand is set to release 647.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions between 2013 and 2020 – 137 million tonnes more than we are allowed under the Kyoto Protocol. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier:

Christchurch Considers Cathedral, Stadium: Cathedral Working Group Report Released

“About half of Christchurch wants to see the cathedral reinstated, the other half wants something new and more modern, but really, everyone just needs a decision." More>>

ALSO:

Auditor-General Stands Down For Investigation: Gordon Campbell On (Not) Taking Responsibility

So Martin Matthews, our current Auditor-General wishes he could have detected “earlier” the fraud that occurred on his watch at the Ministry of Transport. Hmmm. But he could have detected it earlier, surely? That’s the point. More>>

ALSO:

NGOs Pleased: Govt To Halt Collection Of Client Data

Brenda Pilott, the chair of ComVoices and national manager of Social Service Providers Aotearoa, congratulates the government on its decision to call a halt to the collection of individual client data until the concerns of not-for-profit service providers have been worked through. More>>

ALSO:

Gosh: Blasphemy Law Repeal Struck Down

Chris Hipkins, the MP who tabled a Supplementary Order Paper to add our Blasphemy Law to the Statutes Repeal Bill, said this was a "sad day for freedom of speech, tolerance, and leadership". More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 

Opening The Election Supporters

 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election