Last month Polaris quad bikes announced that they are pulling out of the Australian market by October 2020, with Honda and Yamaha also announcing they will pull out by 2021.
This comes after the news that last year the federal government announced that all Quad bikes or All-terrain vehicles (ATV) would need to be fitted with rollover protection devices by the end of 2021
Under the new standard, operator protection devices (OPD) or roll bars will have to be fitted on all new quad bikes sold after October 2021.
“Quad bikes are the leading cause of fatalities in Australia of all consumer products that aren’t regulated,” said Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar, who announced the new regulations on behalf of the federal government in 2019.
“This safety standard aims to address the high risk of rollovers, which is especially important for many of our farmers and their families who use these vehicles daily.”
“Since 2001, 230 people have been killed on quad bikes. About 60 per cent of all quad bike accidents are caused by roll-over” Mr Sukkar said.
It’s a decision that has polarised local farming communities, ATV dealers and manufactures.
The manufacturers have repeatedly stated they would rather abandon the Australian market than meet new federal safety standards requiring them to fit operator protection devices or roll bars to all-new quad bikes.
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries has strongly opposed mandatory roll-over protection, arguing instead that behavioural changes such as helmet use, as well as preventing children and passengers from using quad bikes, would be more effective.
Mareeba Yamaha dealer Kevin Dunn said that the decision is going to hurt his business “About 60 per cent of my business comes from selling ATV’s. Some people are claiming that side by side transport will now be sold in its place, but there are some places side by sides can’t go”
“I will now have to look at selling something else instead; maybe Jet skis and personal watercraft can hopefully take up some of the slack and lost sales”
Sam Best from Extreme Motorcycles in Atherton is a Polaris dealer and she claims it’s not just going to hurt their business.
“Being a local small business (Polaris pulling out of Australia) is going to hurt us, but it’s also hurting small farmers. There are some local Mango and Avocados farmers who need quads to spray their crop but side by sides are too big to get around their property.
“The same for rounding up cattle, you wouldn’t want to be rounding up large feral bulls on a motorbike”
National Farmers’ Federation chief executive Tony Mahar welcomed the new regulations as a “great step forward” but admitted not all farmers have been seeking the extra regulation.
“I think there are various views — there always is — but ultimately the facts speak,” Mr Mahar said.
“There are 16 deaths a year — more than one person a month, six people a day presenting at hospital.
“The facts don’t lie.”
The new regulations will come into effect in October 2021.