'Experimenting with farmers' lives': Motor industry group slams Government agencies stand on quad bike safety

The group representing quad bike manufacturers has slammed a move by two Government agencies in supporting the fitting of crush protection devices (CPDs) on quad bikes.

ACC announced it would subsidise the fitting of two types of CPDs, while Worksafe recently changed its policy on the issue, saying it now strongly recommended they be used.

However the Motor Industry Association (MIA) is unhappy and said the Government agencies are experimenting with farmers' lives in their call.

Chief Executive David Crawford said international research suggests there was no credible evidence that CPDs would prevent more injuries.

"On the contrary, research from Australia reveals that the chances of a serious accident resulting in hospitalisation is more likely to occur if a CPD is fitted to a quad bike, " he said.

Between January 2000 and October 2017 81 people died in quad bike crashes in New Zealand.
Between January 2000 and October 2017 81 people died in quad bike crashes in New Zealand. Photo credit: Westpac Rescue Helicopter

He said it was important that officials took time to analyse the data before rushing to draft ill-informed policies.

Crawford said Worksafe's support of the CPD's was against the advice of most manufacturers, which was most concerning

"We do not advise the retro-fitting of CPDs on quads that are not designed for them by the manufacturers.  This is not safe practice."

"The MIA is a safety-first organisation and for some time we've been asking the government to regulate and promote a number of simple evidence-based safety measures."

He said the MIA wanted to see the mandatory wearing of helmets, as well as children prevented from riding adult size ATVs and no passengers on single-seat quads.

"We'd also like to see improvements and more opportunities around rider training.

"Research in the US shows that there has been a big drop in quad bike fatalities since 1999 and this has been linked to increased use of helmets and restrictions on children riding the bikes."

He said between 1999 and 2011, quad bike fatalities halved and that had been strongly linked to behavioural changes on the part of riders.

"There were no engineering changes, such as CPDs during this time."

"In New Zealand, we'd like to see sensible, proven safety solutions and would welcome the opportunity for further discussions with the Government."