ATV four wheel Quad bike makers and owners face a future of added responsibility

While it is not yet written into the new Quad bike code being adopted on 11 October 2021, in the future it will be the onus of current owners to be more careful who they allow to ride their quads.

It’s no longer a matter of letting an inexperienced rider give the bike a run without taking full responsibility of the outcome.

Compulsory roll bar protection as directed by the government will go part of the way to help reduce needless fatalities from the Quads crushing their riders in the case of a roll-over.

But the most logical approach has always been to restrict novice riders from being put into perilous positions in the first place.

Many Quad bike makers have not taken the regulations lightly and have resisted the changes to the point of throwing away half of their sales income, by thrr4atening to pull their models out of the local market.

The alternative to fit an $89.00 roll-over protection device to each Quad moving forward, as ordered by the government, to keep their multi $million market share has not dented their resolve to be any part of the new legislation.

The impending Federal Government safety laws state all bikes must be fitted with, or have integrated into the design an operator protection device and meet minimum safety requirements before being sold.

This legislation was introduced to reduce the risk of on-farm fatalities as a result of quad-bike accidents, the leading on-farm killer in 2019.

From the very moment Quad bike makers were informed of the possibility of having to fit compulsory rollbars, they were up in arms and threatened to pull out of the local market if the legislation proceeded to law.

But law it will be from 11 October 2021 when stage 2 of the legislation where all new ATVs sold in Australia will have to be fitted with the devices at point of sale.

Once this major safety upgrade takes place, it will be the existing ATV owners that will come under scrutiny, and a concerted campaign will be required to bring all quad bikes up to standard.

The standard was introduced over two stages. The requirements under stage 1 must have been met by 11 October 2020 to still sell new models, and the requirements under stage 2 must be met by 11 October 2021.

The mandatory legislation that applies to all new ‘general-use’ quad bike models sold in Australia is outlined below.

STAGE 1 (by 11 October 2020)

  • All quad bikes must meet the specified requirements of the US quad bike Standard ANSI/SVIA 1-2017 or the EN 15997:2011 Standard.
  • All quad bikes must be tested for static stability using a tilt table test and display the angle at which it tips on to two wheels on a hang tag at the point of sale.
  • All quad bikes must have a durable label affixed, visible and legible when the quad bike is in operation, alerting the operator to the risk of rollover and must include rollover safety information in the owner’s manual.

STAGE 2  (by 11 October 2021)

  • All general-use model quad bikes must be fitted with, or have integrated into the design, an operator protection device.
  • All general-use model quad bikes must meet the minimum stability requirements of:
  • Lateral stability – a minimum TTR of 0.55 (28.81 degrees)
  • Front and rear longitudinal pitch stability – a minimum TTR of 0.8 (38.65 degrees)

Rebates to upgrade on offer

Farmers in NSW have already spent $38 million to improve their quad bike safety since 2016, this has resulted in $3millon in rebates since the program began. 

The NSW Government offers a safety rebate of up $2,000 to eligible farmers to help improve quad bike safety on-farm, including, $600 for the purchase of an operator protective device, $90 for the purchase of a compliant helmet and $500 for the purchase of one drone. 

The Quad Bike Safety Rebate program is due to end in June 2021, but NSW Farmers is calling for the safety rebate to be extended to December 2022. 

For more information on the Quad Bike Safety Improvement Program in NSW, go to: www.safework.nsw.gov.au 

Here is a guide to where your brand manufacturer currently stands on the quad-bike upgrades for stage 2 on 11 October 2021.

CAN AM

This popular Canadian maker has declared they will abandon selling any further quad bikes into our local market, if the stage 2 legislation is enacted.

HONDA

The company has clearly stated it will pull out of the Australian market by 10 October 2021 rather than fit OPDs as directed by the federal government.

Honda stated the reason behind their decision was because the standard represents a set of regulations that cannot be entirely met by any ATV in the market today.

It also concluded it is unlikely to be met by anything in the future and forces Honda to exit the ATV category.

KAWASAKI

One of the quieter manufacturers in their vocal stance of the new government regulations but are towing the Industry line that at this stage they would cease to sell ATVs in Australia from 10 October.

POLARIS

Polaris has already taken the high road by withdrawing its standard quad-bike range as it considers the reduced appeal following the new legislation will diminish the market anyway.

However Polaris are still offering 2021 Sportsman 570 and 450 HO models operating off a rugged new platform that are claimed as the industry’s best-selling ATV.

Whether the fitting of a $89.00 roll-over protection device to each vehicle to maintain this $million market share remains to be seen.

Polaris has a further ACE up its sleeve with the single seater ACE range of models that already comply with the 11 October legislation due to their unique and existing roll-over protection bars as part of their original build.

Polaris has also advised it will focus on developing a larger market share for its range of side-by-side vehicles.

SEGWAY

This new entrant into the local market can’t see just what all the fuss is about and while its powerful petrol-electric hybrid model meets all current requirements, it also intends to fit the required OPDs on all models sold from 11 October.

SUZUKI

The Japanese maker made its anger towards the government legislation known in May 2020 and was adamant it would pull all its ATV quad bikes from the local market by 10 October 2021.

The company went as far as asking dealers to stop selling any more Suzuki quad bikes.

As the local Suzuki arm has no alternative ATV quad bike model to offer it is prepared to move forward without the market share it previously held.

TGB

Taiwanese manufacturer TGB has advised it will have five models that will fully comply with the new federal OPD laws.

TGB models will be sold through the current Argo All-Terrain Vehicles distributor, boasting 30 years experience of delivering vehicles, parts, service and operator training.

YAMAHA

Japanese maker Yamaha has been a vocal denouncer of the changed government legislation for ATV Quad bikes. The company has announced will pull it ATV range out of the local market.

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