Quad bikes and All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV) are becoming part and parcel of every day farming but, like any piece of machinery, it’s not the quad bike that is dangerous, it’s the way it’s handled! So, before you hop on and start up your ATV, take the time to get to know the vehicle, know your limits and know the dangers.
ATVs have inherently unstable design features (a narrow-wheel base, short turning radius, high centre of gravity and low tyre pressure) to maximize manoeuvrability. The injuries from these vehicles can often be fatal, because they can achieve high speeds and when an ATV overturns, there is no roll bar to protect the driver’s head or neck (as is the case with a tractor or utility vehicle).
There is no one cause of all ATV accidents. However, many of these incidents involve the negligence or recklessness of the driver or another person nearby. Causes of ATV accidents include drunk driving, to speeding recklessly, to unsuitable terrain, to vehicle rollover; the list goes on and on. These accidents are also caused by less obvious reasons, such as poor maintenance or exceeding the carrying capacity on the ATV. ATVs in light agricultural use are designed to hold the operator, and the operator only.
There is no doubting that ATVs can be a real aid on the farm, but if you have an ATV, you are being negligent if you don’t at least familiarise yourself with safe driving practices and prevent children (those under 16 years of age) from driving the ATV in any circumstances.