Australia's mandatory Quad Bike Safety Standard fully comes into effect on Monday, October 11, but what does it mean for farmers?
From Monday, if you want to buy a new or second-hand imported general-use quad bike, it must be fitted with operator protection devices.
This means all general-use ATVs must have an OPD fitted into the bike or integrated into its design.
These OPDs can be either an ATV Lifeguard, manufactured by Ag-Tech Industries; a Quadbar, manufactured by QB Industries; or a device that offers the same, or better, level of protection for operators.
At this stage, existing quad bikes owned by Australian farmers do not need to be retrospectively fitted with an OPD.
ATVs must also meet requirements for lateral stability and front and rear longitudinal pitch stability.
For lateral stability, quad bikes must meet a minimum tilt table ratio of 0.55, this means it must not tip onto two wheels on a slope of less than 28.81 degrees.
The minimum tilt table ratio for front and rear longitudinal pitch stability is 0.8, meaning it must not tip onto two wheels on a slope of less than 38.65 degrees.
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These requirements are outlined as part of stage two of the federal government's mandatory Quad Bike Safety Standard, which was developed after a two-year investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
ACCC deputy chair Mick Keogh said quad bike accidents were the leading cause of death and injury on Australian farms and the mandatory safety standard will be critical in saving lives.
In 2020, Australia recorded its highest number of quad bike deaths, with 24 killed. Six Australians have died in quad bike accidents in 2021 so far.
"A high proportion of quad bike accidents are due to rollovers, and the additional safety requirements that are about to come into force include physical design changes to mitigate rollover risks," Mr Keogh said.
ATVs must also adhere to stage one of the safety standard, which came into play one year ago.
As part of stage one, all quad bikes must meet the requirements of either the US or European standards.
Quad bikes must be tested for static stability, and the angle at which the bike tips onto two wheels must be displayed on a hang tag.
An easy-to-read label must be visible to the operator of the ATV and alert them to the risk of rollover. Information must also be included about rollover safety in the owner's manual.
Earlier this year, surveillance was conducted by the ACCC, in conjunction with state and territory consumer protection agencies, to examine whether suppliers were complying with stage one.
Almost one in six quad bikes for sale through the 246 dealerships examined were not compliant.
"Consumer law regulators will be conducting another round of surveillance to monitor compliance with the quad bike safety requirements," Mr Keogh said.
"Suppliers have had a two-year transition period to prepare for the new requirements and those who are still not compliant risk enforcement action."
Manufacturers and dealers can face fines and penalties for failing to comply with the standards.
Mr Keogh said when it comes to vehicle safety issues, there is no single solution and, of course, safe riding precautions remain extremely important.
"Quad bike owners should always wear helmets and the right safety gear, complete the necessary training, and never let children ride adult bikes," he said.
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