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Stay safe on the farm this summer

MBIE logoMedia release

19 December 2012

Stay safe on the farm this summer

On average, 850 people each year are injured riding quad bikes on farms. Five die.

It is because of these unacceptable statistics that Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment inspectors will visit farms this summer to ensure key quad bike safety steps are recognised and understood.

Rural Women New Zealand joins the Ministry in urging farmers and their families to take extra care on the farm over summer, particularly when it comes to quad bike safety.

As it gets closer to the holiday season the pace of work picks up and more tasks are fitted into the longer days.

“Long hours can lead to fatigue and an increase in accidents,” says the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s General Manager – Central, Ona de Rooy.

There is also a real need for vigilance once the school holidays begin and children are spending more time around the farm.

Rural Women NZ national president, Liz Evans, says “Quad bikes are powerful and heavy machines and riders need to be experienced and trained to operate them safely. They are not toys and children should not be riding them alone or as passengers.”

Carrying passengers increases the bike’s instability by raising the centre of gravity, and can restrict the rider from using active riding techniques. For these reasons, manufacturers prohibit the carriage of passengers on bikes that are designed for one person.

“If farmers want their children to help out on the farm they need to find another way for them to travel.”

There have been a number of quad bike accidents recently and these serve as tragic reminders of the dangers associated with quad bikes.

The Ministry is intensifying its efforts to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries, and its health and safety inspectors will be making an extra effort to be out visiting farms this summer to ensure that quad bike safety is being taken seriously.

Where inspectors find poor quad bike safety practices, enforcement action will be taken.

The quad bike safety campaign has four key steps:

always wear a helmet
make sure riders are experienced or trained
never let kids ride adult quad bikes
choose the right vehicle for the job.

The Ministry wants farmers and their families to stay safe on the farm and have a great festive season.

[ends]

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