Science

Project: Quad bike testing expanded

Photo credit: IASousa - Fotopedia
Friday, 19 July, 2013

A world-first testing program assessing the dynamic handling of quads bikes is to be carried out, to determine when a vehicle is likely to roll over and potentially injure a rider.

The research will be conducted by experts from UNSW's Transport and Road Safety Research Unit, TARS, led by Raphael Grzebieta, Professor of Road Safety at UNSW.

Workcover NSW announced the new testing this week, which is an expansion of its $1.3 million Quad Bike Research and Testing Project.

The first stage of the project was launched in March, in which Professor Grzebieta’s team is testing vehicles on a specially designed tilt-table to assess the likelihood of vehicles rolling over.

General Manager of WorkCover’s Work Health and Safety Division and Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities (HWSA) Chair, John Watson, said the aim of the research project was to reduce the unacceptable level of quad bike-related fatalities and injuries on farms.

“This will be the first time dynamic handling testing is conducted on quad bikes, side-by-side vehicles and recreational quad bikes anywhere in the world,” Mr Watson said.

“Sixteen commonly used vehicles will be assessed using a series of internationally recognised tests.

“Vehicles will be driven at various speeds to assess how they respond to steering and terrain, and how this affects a rider’s ability to maintain control and avoid a collision or rollover.

“The financial and human costs of quad bike fatalities and injuries on farms can no longer be tolerated.

“We anticipate that the results of the project will enable the development of a quad bike safety rating system for stability, handling and crashworthiness similar to the system used for motor vehicles.

“This has the potential to lead to major improvements in vehicle design and safety, and a reduction in the number of on-farm fatalities and injuries,” he said.

The project is being conducted by UNSW at the RMS Crashlab at Huntingwood in western Sydney, on behalf of WorkCover NSW and the Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities.

The project is expected to be completed later this year with a final report released shortly afterwards. Following the release of the report, the HWSA Working Group will consider its recommendations.

WorkCover Media Unit: 4321 5474 or 0413 186 799

UNSW Science media: Deborah Smith: 9385 7307, 0478 492 060, deborah.smith@unsw.edu.au