Honda Australia reacts to new quad bike laws | News
Honda Australia has spoken out in reaction to new quad bike safety laws announced this week by Assistant Treasurer the Hon Michael Sukkar.
Honda Australia has accused the government of shifting the safety issue rather than addressing it head-on, which Honda says is not putting farmers’ safety first, saying “The standard represents a set of regulations that cannot be entirely met by any ATV (Quad) bike in the market today, and is unlikely to be met by anything in the future. The standard is effectively a ban by stealth – designed to move the safety issue to some other form of vehicle such as utilities, tractors or side-by-side vehicles (SSV)”
The new quad bike safety laws introduced this week state: (the new laws do not apply to second-hand quad bikes)
Within 12 months, all new quad bikes will be required to:
– have a warning label alerting riders to the risk of roll over
– meet US or European standards (performance of components like brakes, suspension, throttle and clutch)
– test for stability and display the result on a hang tag attached to the bike at point of sale.
Within 24 months, all new general use model (utility) quad bikes will be required to:
– be fitted with, or have integrated into the design an operator protection device (rollbar)
– meet minimum stability requirements
For the full list of safety standards CLICK HERE.
Rollbars are the main point of contention between quad bike manufacturers and the government. Honda fears without an Australian Standard for quad bike rollbars unsafe products will make their way onto the market, potentially causing more harm than good. Managing Director of Honda Australia Motorcycle and Power Equipment Mr Robert Toscano has said, “I’m amazed that the government has even added another type of “quadbar,” since the original draft just six months ago, despite, by its own admission, there being no Australian Standard. What type of mandated scientific rigor has it undergone or are they just accepting another device to test on our farmers?”
Yamaha Motor Australia echoed this fear in a release earlier this year, claiming “independent studies have shown that OPDs are not an effective safety solution and are likely to cause as many injuries as they may prevent. In addition, there is no safety standard for OPDs. These are the main reasons that Yamaha engineers will not make the design changes that are proposed for the AUS market. This means the end of the line for Yamaha utility ATVs in Australia.”
Suzuki Australia backed this up by saying “Internationally significant research conducted by US-based firm Dynamic Research Inc. has determined that OPDs can cause as many fatalities and injuries as they may save.”
Honda Australia is standing by the statement “in 2 years’ time we will be forced to cease supply of quad bikes in Australia.”
Read Honda Australia’s full press release below.
Honda Australia 10/10/2019 – The surprise announcement today by the Assistant Treasurer, The Hon Michael Sukkar MP, to introduce the Consumer Goods (Quad Bikes) Safety Standard 2019, demonstrates the government has chosen to shift the safety issue, rather than decisively protect the farming community.
The standard represents a set of regulations that cannot be entirely met by any ATV (Quad) bike in the market today, and is unlikely to be met by anything in the future. The standard is effectively a ban by stealth – designed to move the safety issue to some other form of vehicle such as utilities, tractors or side-by-side vehicles (SSV).
“This is an extremely disappointing day for farm safety and the countless farmers who rely on quad bikes every day,” said Managing Director of Honda Australia Motorcycle and Power Equipment, Mr Robert Toscano.
“Honda’s position has always been to put farmer safety first. The final Standard released this morning fundamentally fails. Whilst it seems that the Standard released this morning contains some differences to the original draft; as it looks, in 2 years’ time we will be forced to cease supply of quad bikes in Australia.” Mr Toscano continued.
“From my first reading of the new Standard, I’m amazed that the government has even added another type of “quadbar,” since the original draft just six months ago, despite, by its own admission, there being no Australian Standard. What type of mandated scientific rigor has it undergone or are they just accepting another device to test on our farmers?” Mr Toscano added.
The tragedy of this decision is that the known and proven safety measures, accepted and agreed by safety experts, coronial inquests and the manufacturers have been ignored. These known safety measures are (1) mandating helmets for all quad bike riders (2) mandating rider training and (3) stopping children under 16 years of age from riding adult size quad bikes. Sadly, special interest groups have lobbied for this effective end to quad bikes, rather than have their members wear a helmet or keep our precious children off adult quads.
Honda will continue to advocate for the known safety practices of helmets, training and age appropriate use of vehicles. This advocacy remains critical for most forms of farm vehicles including motorcycles and SSV. Our hope is the government will adopt these known safety measures soon, to bring an end to the cycle of tragedy on Australian farms.
The ACCC has unsurprisingly welcomed the change, stating today: The ACCC has welcomed the Federal Government’s decision to improve the safety of quad bikes by introducing a new safety standard. The decision was announced by Assistant Treasurer the Hon Michael Sukkar today. The safety standard has three elements: improved information for potential purchasers, enhanced quad bike stability, and rollover protection to reduce injuries and deaths.
Read the full statement by Minister for Housing and Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar HERE