Mandating OPDs on quad bikes no silver bullet says FCAI

Mandating CPDs on quad bikes no silver bullet says FCAI

A peak body representing manufacturers and importers of all-terrain vehicles to Australia believe mandating crush protection devices on quad bikes is not the silver bullet in preventing death or injury.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) is the peak representative organisation for companies who distribute new passenger vehicles, light commercial vehicles and motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles in Australia.

FCAI CEO Tony Weber said all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are important for farmers as they assist in the productivity of a farm.

"They are the modern day work horse and are an important element in like any machinery.... and need to be treated with respect otherwise people get injured," he said.

A CPD is also referred to as an operator protective device (OPD) and is an engineered attachment fitted to a quad bike.

It is designed to help protect riders from crush related injuries in the event of a rollover.

"Evidence suggests in some circumstances CPDs do prevent injuries, other times they create more injuries and that's not a satisfactory outcome we should address the fundamental problem and that is the way in which humans behave around this machine," Mr Weber said.

In October 2019, the federal government made the decision to improve the safety of quad bikes by introducing a new safety standard.

The safety standard has three elements: improved information for potential purchasers, enhanced quad bike stability, and rollover protection to reduce injuries and deaths.

Among the requirements of the new standard is that all new general use quad bikes sold in Australia will have to have a CPD or rollover bar, to reduce the risk of injury or and death in the event of a rollover.

Mr Weber said to just focus on an "engineering solution" will not actually solve the issue when it came to quad bike related deaths and injuries.

"The science on CPDs is not there. We need a solution that we know works, not one we think may work or work in certain circumstances," he said.

"Inevitably it (a solution) will not be one single approach, it needs to be a multi-pronged approach and fundamentally to that is behavioural change, rather than trying to find a magic bullet and we don't believe an CPD is a magic bullet

Following the government's new standard requirements, manufacturers Polaris and Yamaha announced they will stop selling quad bikes in Australia and as of October next year Honda will also stop selling.

In an article published by ACM on June 1, 2020, Australian Competition Consumer and Commission deputy chair Mick Keogh said the new standard, requiring operator or roll-over protection devices be fitted to quad bikes, would save lives.

In response to the ongoing deaths and injuries associated with quad bikes, the ACCC was asked in 2017 by state and federal ministers to conduct an inquiry into its safety.

After a two year investigation the ACCC Quad Bike Taskforce released a draft mandatory standard for consultation with industry.

After responses were considered, the ACCC provided a report recommending the adoption of a mandatory safety standard for all new quad bikes sold in Australia.

Mr Keogh said there was no reason bikes could not be imported into Australia and fitted to standard.

"Israel have had the requirement for roll-over protection in place for quite some time," he said.

"The dealers went straight to the manufacturer and did what they call parallel imports.

"I feel for the dealers, but our job was to improve product safety and save lives."

However the the chief operating officer of Yamaha has said while Israel did mandate the fitment of CPDs, they became more flexible in 2013.

Brad Ryan, COO of Yamaha, said the company does not sell ATVs with OPDs anywhere in the world, including includes Israel.

"In addition, to our knowledge Yamaha products are not parallel imported into Israel and fitted with OPDs," Mr Ryan said.

"Yamaha is, as we speak, licensed to sell Utility ATVs without OPDs in Israel, and has been doing so since 2014.

"I think once Israel realised their OPD rules were too restrictive they re-negotiated the licensing rules.

"So the Israel thing is misinformation. I don't know where it came from, but rumour has it the information was given to the ACCC by an OPD manufacturer, and presumably the ACCC simply didn't check."