A photo from NSW farmer John Lowe of a quad bike rollover incident that he experienced. He walked away from it unscathed (because of the OPD). His neighbour had a similar incident and spent weeks in hospital. Picture: Supplied/National Farmers' Federation
A photo from NSW farmer John Lowe of a quad bike rollover incident that he experienced. He walked away from it unscathed (because of the OPD). His neighbour had a similar incident and spent weeks in hospital. Picture: Supplied/National Farmers' Federation

NSW Farmers quell fears over quad-bikes

IF YOU are in the market for a quad-bike right now, it might take a while to source one of your favourite brands.

With a number of manufacturers announcing plans to withdraw from the Australian market as the first phase of new safety laws come into effect, there has been a run on the popular farm vehicle.

Many models are now unavailable in Coffs Harbour and Coffs Motorsports owner Darryl Smith said the new laws were just one of a few factors affecting the market.

“Everything has been affected by COVID-19, the factories have been shut and it has created a supply issue,” he said.

“Normally we would have about 8 different models and we can only access one, maybe two at the moment.

“And then some people understand they may not be available in the not to distant future.”

From October, all new quad bikes will be required to have safety information affixed to them detailing the risk of rollover and one year later all bikes will have to be fitted with an Operator Protection Device, known as a rollover bar.

The vehicle is now the leading cause of death on Australian farms and there have been 10 quad-bike fatalities so far in 2020, with Safe Work Australia attributing eight to rollovers.

Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Polaris have since announced they would cease supplying Australia dealers and last week NSW Farmers moved to assure people there will be other manufacturers step in and provide safer vehicles.

“We commend these manufacturers who are dedicated to advancing their quad bike design for safety improvement and encourage them to publicly announce their position sooner rather than later,” Association president James Jackson said.

“It is regrettable that brands like Honda and Yamaha have said they will stop offering quad bikes to the Australian market, limiting some farmers’ access to their preferred brand, however supply will meet demand.”

In an announcement in February, Polaris said complying with the new measures would be “unviable” given the increasingly reduced size of the Australian market.

“Over recent years the Australian off-road vehicle market has experienced record levels of transference as farmers transition en masse from quad bikes, to side-by-side vehicles,” managing director Alan Collins said.

“Polaris has publicly stated numerous times that we believed within 24 months the quad bike market would be minimal at best, as the market shift away from ATVs (quad bikes) and towards side-by-side products was in full force long before any government mandates or safety standards were enacted – obviously this shift will now accelerate even further over the coming two years as the Consumer Goods (Quad Bikes) Safety Standard 2019 takes effect.”



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