Roll-bar rated to rescue quad bike crashes

SAFETY DEVICE: A quad bike fitted with a Lifeguard roll-bar.
SAFETY DEVICE: A quad bike fitted with a Lifeguard roll-bar.

A proven quad bike roll-bar is being rushed to market in the wake of continuing death and injury caused by the all-terrain vehicles.

The Lifeguard, created by Vernon Suckling from Ag-Tech Industries in Dargaville, has already caught the eye of the Australian Government, which is exploring options for mandatory quad bike roll-bars.

The flexible two-post rear attachment, which won the golden standard innovation award at the Agricultural Fieldays last year, has just passed rigorous testing by Crown institute Industrial Research Limited.

The New Zealand Government has offered Suckling its support but will not require quad bikes to use the device until the protective properties have been proven further.

Since 2008, the Accident Compensation Corporation has paid $29 million on 11,084 claims for injuries and 26 claims for accidental deaths involving quad bikes and ATVs.

In the past three weeks one person has died and four people have been seriously injured in quad bike accidents.

Suckling says the Lifeguard will give people a greater chance of survival and avoiding injury when a quad bike flips.

"Statistics show the most common cause of death is being crushed by the quad - they can't get them off and they may be lying there for ages," he said.

"We're not saying this will prevent every accident but the common ones where the back of the quad lands on you, it is very likely to save you in that situation."

Suckling said interest is mounting among training groups, farming associations and government agencies, including in Australia.

"It's something that hasn't been done before and it's offering something fairly positive in the way of something that is needed because of the way it's made."

Business Innovation and Employment Ministry general manager of health and safety operations Ona de Rooy said the ministry believed fitting a roll-over protection device to a quad bike remained a personal choice.

"Where roll bars or other devices are fitted to quad bikes, the ministry would strongly urge farmers to consider how they may impact upon the weight and balance of the quad bike," she said.

"They should consider the manufacturing guidelines of the particular quad bike and ensure that any addition to the bike does not exceed maximum weight or size limits."

De Rooy said the ministry was working closely with its regulatory colleagues in Australia, who are actively exploring the mandatory fitting of roll-over protection devices for quad bikes.

The Lifeguard will be available for $1595 in the coming weeks.

Sunday Star Times