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

Hager Revelations: Inquiry Into NZSIS Release Of Goff Docs

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS), Cheryl Gwyn, announced today that she would be instituting an inquiry concerning allegations that the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) might have released official information to Mr Cameron Slater, regarding briefings provided to the then Leader of the Opposition, for political purposes...

“I am satisfied there is a sufficient public interest justifying the commencement of an own-motion inquiry into the substance of the issues raised with my Office,” said Ms Gwyn. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Fish Pun Warning: By Hoki! It’s Labour’s Fisheries Policy

A Labour Government will protect the iconic Kiwi tradition of fishing by improving access to the coast, protecting the rights of recreational fishers and reviewing snapper restrictions, Labour’s Fisheries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. More>>

ALSO:

It's Official: Governor General Gives Direction To Conduct Election

The Governor General has signed the writ directing the Electoral Commission to conduct the General Election on 20 September 2014. This is the formal authority to run the 2014 election, and enables candidate nominations to open tomorrow Thursday 21 August 2014. More>>

Gordon Campbell: No More Mr Nice Guy

When future historians seek to identify the exact moment when the prime ministerial career of John Key hit the downward slope, they may well point to Key’s interview yesterday with Guyon Espiner on RNZ’s Morning Report. More>>

ALSO:

Dirty (Politics) Weekend: Collins’ Admission Reason For Key To Act

"Despite claiming that the evidence about her in Nicky Hager's book was ‘false’ Judith Collins has now been forced to admit that she did send information about a Ministerial Services staff member to Cameron Slater for him to use in a baseless smear campaign. More>>

ALSO:

Potential Disasters: Underground Coal Fire On Denniston Plateau

Forest & Bird says one or more coal fires have broken out beneath the Denniston Plateau, and that the Department of Conservation (DOC) must stop Bathurst Resources’ preparatory mining work going on there until the fire or fires are extinguished. More>>

ALSO:

Bikes: Nats Plan $100 Million For Urban Cycleways

Prime Minister John Key has today announced $100 million in new funding will be made available over the next four years to accelerate cycleways in urban centres. More>>

ALSO:

New Tax Bracket, Child Poverty Fund: Greens Launch Billion Dollar Plan To Reduce Child Poverty

The Green Party has launched a billion dollar package to significantly reduce child poverty in New Zealand. The details of the plan were released at the party’s campaign launch in Auckland. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news