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2020 - a bad year for quad bikes in NZ

A man killed in a quad bike accident on Saturday was the second farm vehicle death in Hawke’s Bay in a week and followed a deadly year for the four-wheelers.

Provisional WorkSafe figures show there were seven quad bike deaths by September 28, 2020. Even without the full year counted it was the second-worst year for quad bike deaths since 2006, where the figures go back until.

Only 2015, when there were nine deaths, topped it. There have been 74 quad bike deaths categorised as workplace fatalities since 2006.

In the most-recent death, which would be referred to the Coroner, a man went out on his quad bike on a farm in Omakere, Central Hawke’s Bay, on Saturday morning and failed to return, police said.

His body was found shortly before 10pm that evening.

Just one week earlier, a woman in her 20s died when the side-by-side four-wheel-drive she was a passenger in rolled on a rural property at Waipukurau, about 20 minutes from Omakere.

ACC says it received more than 1000 claims for work-related quad bike injuries each year – costing it about $12 million.

It had collaborated with WorkSafe to create a subsidy to help rural businesses buy crush protection devices for quad bikes and that was introduced in mid-2019. ACC has been asked how many farmers have taken up the subsidy.

Federated Farmers Hawke’s Bay president Jim Galloway was not aware of the circumstances of the recent crashes and said there could be any number of causes, ranging from inexperience to holes in the ground.

There was such a long wait for coroners’ reports – which often suggested improvements to stop further incidents – that the findings were often missed or out-of-date.

“As terrible as it is, we need to learn from these problems,” Galloway said.

The Ministry of Justice was unable to answer questions about wait times before deadline.

But the 2019-2020 Chief Coroner’s annual report shows that closing files took 519 days on average. That was a slight increase on a year earlier.

Agricultural Leaders' Health and Safety Action Group general manager Tony Watson then said rollover protection devices were a "practical step that can be taken to improve safety if things go pear-shaped".

"As it stands at the moment if a quad bike lands on someone there's no safety space, and it's exacerbated by the fact we fit them with bull bars and a frame around the outside of the bike that can have a negative effect on the operator if they are pinned by it."

Source: Stuff NZ