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ATV Safety initiatives and Roll over Systems

Media Release 4 November 2009

ATV Safety initiatives and Roll over Protection Systems

"Helmets and rider training are the key to reducing accident injuries, not Roll Over Protection ( ROPS) ", states Phill Haynes, General Manager of Honda Motorcycles NZ, and spokesperson for the ATV motorcycle group of the Motor Industry Association (MIA) which includes all distributors, manufacturers and importers of ATV and motorcycle products.

The ATV industry believe the primary source of improving safety and reducing serious injury is the wearing of helmets and participation in formal and regular rider training. Statistics and research also support this; there have been no reported farming deaths in New Zealand where farmers have worn a helmet while riding ATVs.

After extensive international research in the 1990's, Honda and other ATV manufacturers concluded that rollover bars actually increase localised serious injury risk in an accident. "There has been comprehensive scientific and independent research showing helmets are the key protection element to reduce serious injury or death in the event of an accident and training is the key to preventing accidents from occurring. The research shows ROPS do NOT reduce injury or risk."

"On the face of it rollover protection bars give the impression that safety improvements have been made but this is false and ROPS is ineffective on ATVs in real farming situations on remote, uneven hilly terrain and can magnify injury not reduce it." Mr Haynes adds "ROPS is only effective for slow moving vehicles, or significantly larger vehicles, on flat or slight slopes, like forklifts or tractors or side-by-side utility trucks which we do fit roll cages to..

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ATVs are lighter, nimble and remote working machines that have replaced the horse, which traditionally provided access to rough terrain. In this environment the momentum of roll-overs down slopes, isn't likely to cause serious injury to a rider, as in the majority of accidents the rider and ATV separate. ROPS do not stop a rider under-estimating risk or stability and in fact ROPS makes the accident scenario worse, hindering riders exiting the ATV offering limited benefits. Just like riding a horse, a protective hat and training are the prime ways of preventing needless accidents and reduce serious injury."

The ATV industry provide safe-use DVDs, helmets and support for rider training to farmers who buy a new ATV,. Mr Haynes added; "the message is quite simple: ROPS bars have no place on ATVs because of the significant risks of injury they pose and risks associated with ROPS bars on ATVs are greater than any benefits. The greatest injury reduction strategy is the helmet and a training course “.

“We agree with Federated Farmers that ROPS are impractical for ATVs, and go further to say ROPS are not a solution to the problem of reducing injury on the farm; it is not a matter of ROPS invalidating any warranty with modifications, but one of simple non-approval, we will not endorse any modifications which can hinder safety for the majority."

All ATV manufacturers support, incentivise and promote helmets and training on their warning labels and in their owner’s manuals. Federated Farmers have been promoting the use of helmets and training, and OSH and ACC also need to do this to influence riders to correctly assess risk and assist farmers with funding or support, like the manufacturers already do, to train in machinery use and risk assessment - including ATVs."


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