The impact of the deaths and injuries attributed to the operation of quad bikes (also known as All-Terrain Vehicles or ATVs) and Side-by-Side Vehicles (SSVs) in Australia is substantial. Quad bike and SSV related deaths cause significant harm and disruption to Australian families and communities and injuries can result in disabilities that last for a lifetime. Those deaths and injuries cost the Australian economy over an estimated $200 million per annum.
Quad bikes and SSVs are heavily utilised in Australian forestry and agricultural industries. For many farmers, quad bikes and SSVs are affordable and used almost every day for weed spraying and checking livestock and fences. They are also becoming increasingly popular in recreational and sporting settings.
The frequency and causes of quad bike related deaths and injuries suggests that the current design of quad bikes sold in Australia does not ensure an appropriate level of safety for their marketed uses in Australia.
The ACCC has prepared this Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (Consultation RIS) to examine the case for government intervention to reduce the risk of death and injury associated with the use of quad bikes and SSVs in Australia. Five options are being proposed:
Option 1: take no action at all (status quo)
Option 2: make a mandatory safety standard in relation to quad bikes and SSVs that: o adopts the ANSI/SVIA 1–2017 US Standard for quad bikes o requires post manufacture testing for quad bikes and SSVs in accordance with the requirements of a safety star rating system and the disclosure of the star rating at the point of sale o requires an additional warning on quad bikes alerting the operator to the risk of rollover
Option 3: make a mandatory safety standard that satisfies all of the requirements of option 2, and in addition requires general-use model quad bikes to be fitted with an operator protection device
Option 4: make a mandatory safety standard that satisfies all the requirements of option 2, and in addition requires general-use model quad bikes to meet minimum performance tests for mechanical suspension, stability and dynamic handling. It also requires that all wheels be able to rotate at different speeds
Option 5: make a mandatory safety standard that satisfies all of the requirements of Options 2, 3 and 4.
The ACCC considers that Option 5 is likely to prevent more deaths and injuries to quad bike operators than all of the other options by significantly reducing the frequency of incidents and mitigating the severity of injury when an incident occurs. It also best addresses information asymmetry issues that create product safety risks for quad bike and SSV operators.
As part of a holistic approach to mitigate the safety risks of quad bikes and SSVs, the ACCC notes that appropriate complementary regulatory measures should be considered by other jurisdictions and agencies. For example, a ban on children from operating adult quad bikes and SSVs and mandating the use of personal protection equipment, such as helmets, for operators and passengers of quad bikes and SSVs.
Submissions are open until 5pm 4 May 2018.