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 Drone Strikes And Judith Collins‘ Last Stand

The news that a New Zealand citizen was killed last November in a US drone attack in Yemen brings the drones controversy closer to home.

To the US, drones are a legitimate response to the threat posed by the al Qaeda organisation and its franchisees... To the US, the drones carry the added advantage of not putting US troops at risk on the ground, and minimises the need for putting them in large numbers in bases in the countries concerned, always a politically sensitive point.

The counter-argument, well articulated by security analyst Paul Buchanan on RNZ this morning, is that this particular drone attack can be said to amount to an extra-judicial execution of a New Zealand citizen by one of our military allies, in circumstances where the person concerned posed no threat to New Zealand’s domestic security. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Policies: Labour’s Economic Upgrade For Manufacturing

Labour Leader David Cunliffe has today announced his Economic Upgrade for the manufacturing sector – a plan that will create better jobs and higher wages. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Life And ACC Work Of Sir Owen Woodhouse

With the death of Sir Owen Woodhouse, the founding father of the Accident Compensation Scheme, New Zealand has lost one of the titans of its post-war social policy. More>>

ALSO:

Bad Transnationals: Rio Tinto Wins 2013 Roger Award

It won the 2011 Roger Award and was runner up in 2012, 2009 and 08. One 2013 nomination said simply and in its entirety: “Blackmailing country”... More>>

ALSO:

Select Committees: Tobacco Plain Packaging Hearings

The Stroke Foundation is today backing the Cancer Society and Smokefree Coalition who are making oral submissions to the Health Select Committee in support of proposed legislation to remove of all branding from tobacco products. More>>

ALSO:

Milk: Oravida Asked For Cabinet Help

New evidence released by New Zealand First today reveals Justice Minister Judith Collins used her position to manipulate the Government to help her husband’s company, Oravida, after the Fonterra botulism scare, says New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters. More>>

ALSO:

With Conditions: Ruataniwha Consents Approved In Draft Decision

The Tukituki Catchment Proposal Board of Inquiry has granted 17 resource consents relating to the $265 million Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme in a draft decision that would open more of the Hawke’s Bay to irrigation. More>>

ALSO:

Fast Lanes, Campervans: Labour 'Making The Holidays Easier For Kiwi Drivers'

The next Labour Government will make the holidays easier and journeys quicker for Kiwi families driving on the roads, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Royalty And Its Tourism Spin-Offs

Ultimately the Queen’s longevity has been one of her most significant accomplishments. A transition to Prince Charles while the monarchy was in the pits of public esteem in the mid to late 1990s would have been disastrous for the Royal Firm. Far more congenial representatives have now emerged... More>>

ALSO:

Privacy (Again): ACC Demands Excessive Privacy Waivers

Labour: “This is just another example of ACC under National deliberately acting to deny treatment and compensation... Those who did fill in the form have effectively been victims of yet another ACC privacy breach. This time Judith Collins knew it was happening..." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news