An enquiry that concluded two years ago by Safe Work Australia found that between 2011 and 2018 there were 128 quad bike based fatalities and given the quad is consider plant equipment by Work Health and Safety, it fell to the government body to make a ruling on ATV safety in the workplace (farm), and thus, in short, it was found unsafe.
Manufacturers were asked to fit roll bars to any new models but across the board they responded by claiming proper safety equipment and training was the answer. And they have a point, farmers need to take wearing helmets more seriously as far too many of the death and injury stats reveal no safety equipment on the rider at all. But Japanese companies do not like making changes to existing designs, particularly through aftermarket devices and it brought all sorts of warranty and litigation concerns.
The methods and statistics utilised in the governmental study have been questioned and criticised heavily by manufacturers, who very early on threatened to pull the product entirely should the ruling demand roll bars be fitted as stock equipment.
The ruling stands however, and now here we are, saying goodbye to the Honda range of ATVs…a mainstay of farm life in Australia. The other big players have promised to follow too. This will hit rural dealers very, very hard and farmers will be forced to turn to the far more expensive (around twice the price) side-by-sides.
Roll bars can be retro-fitted to most quads for between around $700 and $1500 and some states offer rebates as an incentive to purchase.
27/05/2020 – Due to the new Standard passed by the Australian government in October 2019, Honda will no longer sell ATVs in Australia after 10th October 2021.
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 and forces Honda to exit the ATV category.
“The new Standard is extremely disappointing for farm safety and the countless farmers who rely on quad bikes every day. The safety of our customers is paramount, we will never compromise on this. Now that the rules have changed, it means we have to say goodbye to our ATV line up down under,” said Managing Director of Honda Australia Motorcycle and Power Equipment, Mr Robert Toscano.
“Safety standards must be evidence-based, in both criteria and testing methods, to internationally accepted standards. Honda has provided research to show the negative outcomes of the governments’ proposal but unfortunately it was not considered and we are here in this position today,” Mr Toscano continued.
Honda will continue to advocate for the known and proven safety measures, accepted and agreed by safety experts, coronial inquests and the manufacturers which are: mandating helmets for all quad bike riders, support for mandating rider training and stopping children under 16 years of age from riding adult size quad bikes.
This advocacy also remains critical for most forms of farm vehicles including motorcycles and SSV.
“In light of this, we want to assure customers that Honda will continue to support ATV parts and servicing for the next decade at a minimum. We also offer a range of purpose built SXS (Side by Sides) in our Pioneer line up and our ever-popular Honda AG bikes.” Mr Toscano finished.