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Farmers not the only victims of ATVs

Farmers not the only victims of ATVs

The tragic death of a six-year-old girl after she fell off an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) at an off-road motocross park last weekend highlights the need to educate non-farmers about the risks of operating ATVs.

“This tragedy unfortunately demonstrates that farmers aren’t the only victims of ATV accidents,” says Donald Aubrey, Federated Farmers Health and Safety spokesperson.

“Statistics show far less than half of all ATV accidents are a result of on-farm work, while a vast majority of accidents occur when the bikes are used for recreational purposes.

“ATVs are big, heavy pieces of machinery and without the correct training, any person operating one can fall foul to the dangers of doing so.

“That’s why the effort to prevent ATV accidents must focus more on educating recreational bike users. The current focus is too narrowly aimed at accidents that result from on-farm work.

“Despite the fact this tragic accident did not happen on-farm, I believe it is in the best interests of every ATV owner to have a copy of the Safe Use of ATVs on New Zealand Farms.

“Strictly following the recommendations within this guideline will go a long way towards preventing such tragedies from ever occurring.

“It is imperative that we not only get this vital safety information out to farmers, but to the general public as well. Every ATV operator will then be aware of how to deal with the risks.

“It is particularly important that young people aged between 12 and 15 are appropriately trained and assessed as having the skills and ability to operate an ATV. Children under the age of 12, however, should not operate an ATV. These are two of the guideline’s most important recommendations.

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“The guideline was developed by Federated Farmers and the Agricultural Health & Safety Council, of which I am chairperson. It is also strongly endorsed by the Department of Labour and ACC.

“As this tragedy reaffirms, farmers, motocross park owners and any one who owns or operates an ATV must lead by example and drill the guideline’s recommendations into their workers, contractors and customers.

“Not doing so may result in prosecution or even tragedy,” Mr Aubrey concluded.

To download the Safe Use of ATVs on New Zealand Farms, please click here.

ENDS

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