Quad bikes: Rollbars made mandatory on all new ATVs

All new quad bikes must be fitted with rollover protection devices within two years.

OPERATOR protection devices must be fitted to all new quad bikes within two years, following the Federal Government’s decision to adopt the key recommendations of Australia’s consumer watchdog.

Federal Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar said in Melbourne today “this safety standard aims to address the high risk of rollovers, which is especially important for many of our farmers and their families who use these vehicles daily”.

“Importantly, these requirements will put the onus on foreign manufacturers to supply safer quad bikes into Australia, and protect Australian farmers and others who use them,” he said.

Within two years all new general use model (utility) quad bikes will be required to:

BE fitted with, or have integrated into the design an operator protection device (rollbar).

MEET minimum stability requirements.

Within the next 12 months all new quad bikes will be required to:

HAVE a warning label alerting riders to the risk of rollover.

MEET US or European standards (performance of components like brakes, suspension, throttle and clutch).

TEST for stability and display the result on a hang tag attached to the bike at point of sale.

Mr Sukkar’s announcement has meant the Federal Government had finally accepted the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s calls to fit OPDs, after almost two year’s of community consultation, delay and debate.

The ACCC first called for operator protection devices to be fitted to all new quad bikes in its final report into quad bike safety in February this year, after almost 18 months of deliberations, industry consultation and 119 submissions.

The Weekly Times has previously reported that Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack put pressure on the ACCC, before the May federal election, to abandon its OPD recommendation.

At the time Mr McCormack’s office said he had merely “consulted” with the then Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert “on the issue of quad bike safety and the recent ACCC report”.

The ACCC resisted the pressure, but Mr Robert refused to adopt the consumer watchdog’s recommendations, referring the matter to another round of public consultation, which ended on June 10.

The new round of consultation offered the Japanese manufacturers Honda and Yamaha — who have threatened to withdraw from the Australian market — a last-ditch bid to stop mandatory OPDs.

A coalition of the nation’s leading farmer, medical and community groups demanded the Federal Government to stop stalling on adopting the consumer watchdog’s recommendation and require all new quad bikes to be fitted with OPDs.

The coalition, led by the National Farmers Federation, included the Rural Doctors Association of Australia, Royal Flying Doctor Service, National Rural Health Alliance, National Rural Women’s Coalition, Country Women’s Association of Australia, Australian Workers’ Union, National Centre for Farmer Health, AgForce, NSW Farmers, Victorian Farmers Federation, Primary Producers South Australia and WA Farmers.

In the end the ACCC delivered yet another report to the Federal Government in September, which reiterated its call for mandatory OPDs, leading to Mr Sukkar announcement today.

NFF cheif executive Tony Mahar said “today’s result is nothing short of life-saving”.

“Quad bike accidents have already claimed nine lives this year and 230 since 2011, about half from rollovers,” he said.

Mr Mahar acknowledged the Government, and in particular Mr Sukkar, for officially making the change, and thanked all MPs and senators who listened to the NFF’s concerns and put the safety of farmers first.

“We were also tremendously grateful to be supported in our call for reform by the leading voices of regional Australia and the medical fraternity,” he said.

“In the end, the weight of these voices could not be ignored.”

ACCC deputy chair Mick Keogh said developing the new safety standards had “not been an easy process”, but they gave manufacturers the opportunity and time to install and develop their own OPDs.

Mr Keogh said the ACCC’s recommendations were based on the simple fact that quad bikes were inherenty unstable.

Source: Weekly Times 10 October 2019