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.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Gordon Campbell: On John Key’s Trip To Iraq

In the embedded press coverage on this trip, the absence so far of any evaluation of the wider context of what New Zealand thinks it is doing at Camp Taji has been striking. More>>


Labour: Parata Puts Brakes On Charter School Appraisal

“When the Ministry of Education recommended they compare the achievements of children at charter schools to those of their counterparts at state schools, the documents show Hekia Parata specifically prohibited them from doing so." More>>


Bad Day For Universities: Gun, Bomb Threats On Three Campuses

Dunedin Police are continuing their investigation into the threat made against the University of Otago. Staff are following a number of lines of inquiry, and police are working to verify the authenticity and source of the post. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The TPP Deal Reached In Atlanta

Yes, the TPP has helped to knock a few points off the tariffs facing our exporters. Yet some of those alleged dollar gains may well have been made regardless over time – and without the negative baggage of the concessions in the non-trade areas (intellectual property, copyright extensions, investor-state dispute mechanisms etc) that the TPP deal also brings in its wake. More>> (Cartoon by Dave Wolland)

Public Summaries:


Wellington.Scoop: Serco – First The Prisons, And Now It Wants To Run The Trains

As the government continues its inquiry into Serco’s discredited administration of Mt Eden prison in Auckland, here in Wellington there’s further scrutiny of the British outsourcing company – because it’s competing to take over the running of our commuter trains. More>>


Pre-Signing: Gordon Campbell On The TPP Countdown

To date, the Key government has been unwilling to share any information about this TPP deal until it is too late for outraged public opinion to affect the outcome... the disclosure process is likely to consist of a similarly skewed and careful exercise in spin. More>>


Australia Deportations: English Relaxed On Immigration Centre Conditions

Labour's Annette King: “There have been numerous reports from inside these detention centres on just how bad conditions are... If they were being held in any other foreign jail, I imagine Mr English would be somewhat concerned. More>>


Schools: Achievement-Based Funding Would Be A Disaster

The Education Minister’s speech to the PPTA Conference raising the spectre of achievement data driving a new funding system would be disastrous, says NZEI Te Riu Roa. More>>

  • Video Out-Link - PPTA Annual Conference 2015 on Livestream (Q+A dicussion suggests funding would be directed to less successful schools.)

  • ALSO:

    ECE Report:

    Get More From Scoop



    Search Scoop  
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news