The NSW Minister for Finance and Services, Greg Pearce, has launched the first stage of a $1 million research project aimed at reducing quad bike deaths on farms.
Fifteen new vehicles will be tested using a specially designed tilt-table to determine the likelihood of the vehicles rolling over and causing severe injuries.
The research project is being conducted by experts from UNSW's Transport and Road Safety Research Unit, TARS, led by Raphael Grzebieta, Professor of Road Safety at UNSW.
Since 2000 more than 150 Australians have died in quad bike incidents. Of the 23 quad bike deaths recorded in 2011, 18 occurred on farms, making quad bikes the leading cause of injury and death on Australian farms.Most deaths are a result of head injuries, asphyxia or serious chest injuries from being trapped by overturned vehicles.
“This testing will enable us to determine whether safety enhancements and design improvements can be made so that injury and loss of life can be prevented," Mr Pearce says.
Two hundred tests will be conducted using combinations of riders, loads and operator protection devices.
“There is still scope to improve vehicle design as previous research has failed to establish the causes of asphyxiation fatalities, which account for nearly 40 per cent of quad bike rollover deaths in Australia,” Mr Pearce says.
“The project team has consulted with the world’s leading experts in quad bike safety to ensure the most effective tests are being conducted. These tests will involve measuring the stability of quad bikes using the tilt-table to determine the likelihood of a vehicle rolling using front and rear load combinations.
“The safety of quad bike users and improving the unacceptable fatality and injury rates needs to be a priority for manufacturers, suppliers and the farming community.
“I look forward to the findings of this world leading research which will help regulators and guide manufacturers make engineering and design improvements.”
The research project is being conducted at the NSW Government Crashlab facility by UNSW experts on behalf of WorkCover NSW and the Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities, the body representing Australasia's work, health and safety regulators.
Mr Pearce announced funding for the Crash Performance Research and Testing on Quad Bikes Project in July, 2012. The project commenced in September 2012 and will run for about 12 months.
Testing will be carried out on eight work quad bikes, three recreational bikes and four side-by-side vehicles.
L-R: NSW Minister for Finance and Services, Greg Pearce; Dr George Rechnitzer, UNSW; Peter Dunphy, WorkCover; Professor Raphael Grzebieta, UNSW.