Honda and Yamaha have announced they will cease selling quad bikes in Australia should the Australian Parliament adopt the ACCC’s recommendations to improve safety
The recommendations including the introduction of a mandatory safety standard and the fitting of operator protection devices (OPDs) and are strongly supported by the NFF.
Long-time campaigner for the improvement
of quad bike safety and NFF Workforce Committee Chair Charlie Armstrong, said
in light of the disclosure farmers should think twice about buying from these manufacturers.
“In a way, we welcome the announcements. Assuming both Honda and Yamaha follow-through on their withdrawal, Australian farmers will be safer without the danger that their products currently pose.
So, if it means fewer deaths and crippling injuries, then it’s hard to feel troubled.
NFF Workforce Committee Chair and long-time quad bike safety campaigner, Charles Armstrong
“Although give the hundreds of thousands of dollars farmers spend on equipment from these manufacturers each year, it does leave a sour taste,” Mr Armstrong said.
Quad bikes accidents are the largest cause of death and injury on Australian farms. Over the 2019 Easter period alone, three children tragically lost their lives from incidents involving quad bikes.
Mr Armstrong said in making their
decision to withdraw from the Australian market, the manufacturers relied on
misinformation, such as American computer modelling, which they commissioned,
and which they claim says the ACCC’s recommendations would make bikes unsafe.
In doing so, they have dismissed the consensus of a range of professional bodies with no commercial interest in the matter, including:
- independent studies by Australian academics based on practical testing and research;
- the opinions of peak health professionals and industry bodies who are mindful of increased costs but recognise the risk as unacceptable; and
- the recommendations of the ACCC following more than 18 months of consultation and analysis.
“The announcement is reminiscent of the motor vehicle industry’s responses to other safety measures such as the introduction of, the ANCAP safety ratings and requirement to install tractor roll-over cages.
“Each of these has proven, well
beyond any rational argument, to be indispensable safety advances.
“Any suggestion to the contrary
would be inconceivable today. So it’s easy to forget that when government was
considering these initiatives, the manufactures fought aggressively to the
Mr Armstrong said the of course, the
decision by Honda and Yamaha would leave a hole in the market.
“But the void will filled by other
vehicles and manufactures who embrace safety and are as horrified as the NFF at
the frequent reports of death, and serious injury relating to quad bike use.
“If this move saves just one life, then it will be worth it.”
Mr Armstrong said Government regulation to improve quad bike safety needed to be supported by investment in education and awareness about farm safety.
“To this end the NFF supports the
Coalition’s commitment of $3.5 million to the longevity of organisations such
as Farmsafe Australia. We call on the Opposition to also commit to this