Federated Farmers welcomes the belated support of Labour to reclassify quad bikes as agricultural vehicles, given the Federation has lobbied for this change.
“While we welcome Labour’s change of heart, it is a shame it did not come when Federated Farmers submitted for quad bikes to be reclassified as agricultural vehicles,” says Ian Mackenzie, Federated Farmers Transport spokesperson.
“Unfortunately for Iain Lees-Galloway, Labour’s Transport Safety spokesperson, he doesn’t seem to know that quad bikes are not and have never been classed as an agricultural vehicle. They are in fact classed as an ‘all-terrain vehicle.’
“That makes it a bit unfair for him to castigate the Government because last year’s review of agricultural vehicles had nothing to do with quad bikes for this reason.
“Federated Farmers believes reclassifying quad bikes as agricultural vehicles would be a positive step. It would mean that primary users have a larger say and when we do, as we have shown with other agricultural vehicles, safety generally improves.
“While Mr Lees-Galloway may have got his facts wrong, especially since we have met with the Chief Coroner and the on-farm safety record is improving, we at least appreciate Labour’s belated backing for a reclassification.
“A quad bike is the modern equivalent of a horse and like a horse or any other bike for that matter, needs to be actively ridden. I imagine that when we predominantly rode horses the accident rate on-farm would have been shocking but few records would have been kept.
“While rollover protection or ROPS has been looked into for quad bikes, the current consensus is that they save as many lives as they take. ROPS changes weight distribution and some also require harnesses to be effective, restricting a user’s ability to ride safely.
“Newer quad bikes are superior in design and have added safety features. There are also other vehicle choices but to Federated Farmers, the big three solutions are helmets, education and training.
“The reclassification of quad bikes as an agricultural vehicle would also help,” Mr Mackenzie concluded.
For a copy of Federated Farmers May 2012 submission on the Agricultural Vehicles Review, please click here.