NSW Coroner’s recommendations on ATV safety

The FCAI welcomes the NSW Coroner’s recommendations on ATV safety and is pleased the Coroner has promoted a number of known safety measures that can have a positive impact on ATV safety, including the serious matters of children on adult-sized ATVs; the wearing of helmets; carrying passengers; and rider training.

“Public awareness of known safety practices and training are initiatives the ATV Industry has promoted for some time now, as these will help keep ATV users safer when using their vehicles,” Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries Chief Executive Tony Weber said.

“These practices include wearing a helmet and other appropriate safety gear, not carrying more than the manufacturer’s approved number of passengers, not overloading the ATV, not allowing children to ride adult-sized ATVs and not riding under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

“In addition, continued and real-world research and development by the manufacturers is helping to produce new ATVs with improved safety performance for farmers and other users.”

Referring to the Coroner’s recommendation for the development of a safety rating system for ATVs, Mr Weber said the FCAI is interested in the development of a star rating for ATVs provided the ratings being awarded are supported by real-world information about the safety and comparative performance of a vehicle.

“As we noted in our 1 October media release, the star rating previously proposed by the University of NSW TARS team is based on research that has been questioned by other experts and does not relate testing outcomes (or vehicle characteristics) to any real world data, so it cannot accurately inform ATV and side-by-side vehicle consumers about the relative safety of one vehicle versus another,” Mr Weber said.

“The FCAI is disappointed with the promotion of this form of star rating. We believe that it is essential any star rating system for any vehicle, including ATVs and SSVs, accurately validates each particular vehicle’s safety benefits compared with other like vehicles.”

Mr Weber said ATVs provide great benefits for farm owners/workers allowing them to stand up for better visibility and dismount easily when performing repetitive tasks. That is why many farm owners/workers use ATVs regularly.

“The FCAI stresses that before using an ATV, farm owners/workers should consider if an ATV is the right vehicle for the task at hand and not use the ATV for tasks or in environments which it is not suited,” Mr Weber said.

“Riders should undertake training, read the owner’s manual and watch the safety video provided with the ATV, before riding. In Australia, training is widely available and ATV manufacturers selling vehicles in Australia can advise on ATV training available in their local areas. Training is provided at a very reasonable price—around $100–$300. The FCAI is continuing to look for ways to increase awareness of training.”

It is important that ATV users are conscious that many ATVs are single rider only vehicles (these vehicles are clearly labelled). Carrying passengers, particularly children, even for a short distance can be dangerous.