Quad bike accidents prompt farmer warning

Last updated 05:00 25/01/2013
James Houghton
Bruce Mercer/FAIRFAX NZ

Federated Farmers President, James Houghton, on his Pukeatua property with his All Terrain Vehicle which he thinks is safer than Quad bikes.

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Farmers are being told to start embracing quad bike safety after yet another accident on the dangerous machines.

In the latest incident, a 36-year-old Parawera man suffered serious chest and back injuries about 9.30am yesterday after his quad bike rolled about 20 metres down a steep paddock.

The accident happened on an Arapuni Rd farm, southeast of Te Awamutu.

Police and ambulance staff were first at the scene, and the man was flown to Waikato Hospital in a serious condition.

A Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment investigation is under way.

It's another incident in a long line of quad bike mishaps in farming or recreational scenarios.

Last week, a 40-year-old farm worker spent a night lying injured on the banks of the Waihau River at Okauia after his quad bike rolled on him during a recreational ride. He suffered serious back and pelvic injuries.

Waikato Federated Farmers president James Houghton said many of the accidents happened during recreational activity, but farmers were not immune to quad bike accidents.

He had always viewed the quad bike dangerous as a multipurpose farming tool, and no longer used them.

Instead he and his staff use side-by-side seated all-terrain vehicles with a steering wheel, seat belts and a roll cage.

"I changed because quad bikes were posing a risk and they weren't meeting my needs," he said.

"There's no difference. The advantage of those things [ATVs] is [that] staff have tipped them and they just fall on their side and because of the roll cage they don't keep going."

But there's a price difference: quad bikes go from $12,000 to $20,000 while the side-by-sides cost from $20,000 to $40,000.

"Farm owners and people in charge need to front up and change the culture in their workplace," Mr Houghton said.

"The responsibility is at the top. The young guys, they're wanting to change and are more acceptable to change. The old heads are the ones we're struggling with it: they have to accept it and change."

Mr Houghton said the dry weather could tempt farmers and recreational users to drive their quad where they wouldn't in winter.

"We need people to take accountability for what they're doing. There's still a section of the farming community that haven't embraced safety. It's hard because we like people to be safe but stopping short of legislation, how do you get them to do that?"

CLAIMS - QUADS/ATVS

Non-fatal ACC claims: 11,084

Accidental death claims: 26

Payouts: $29 million

Males: 8236

Females: 2874

ACCIDENTS:

Children under 4: 260

Children 5-9: 472

Children aged 10-14: 733

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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