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Calls for quad bike roll bar to be mandatory in NZ

Published: 6:30PM Sunday February 03, 2013 Source: ONE News

A company in Dargaville is trying to tackle the continuing deaths and injuries caused by quad bikes by rolling out a new technology.

The invention, a quad bike roll bar, has been picked up by the Australian Government, but New Zealand officials are taking a less hands on approach.

Quad bike accidents have left one person dead and five injured in just the last three weeks, and have cost upwards of $29 million in ACC payments since 2008.

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Now Ag-Tech Industries is releasing its new protective roll bar called Lifeguard, and there are calls for the Government to make them mandatory.

Owner Vernon Suckling says if the Lifeguard saves one life, the work will be worth it.

"Someone's life is worth a lot, especially think of a family man with children gets killed, what it does to the household, the family," he said.

The crush protection roll bar was designed to bend on impact, cushioning the driver. The inventor claims it cannot collapse and can support tonnes of weight.

It has caught the eye of Australia's Minister of Health and Safety, who is now exploring options to make them compulsory in Australia.

"He's been following it pretty keenly," said Suckland.

"He wanted to get results of the testing out here. He's just genuinely followed it along and kept in contact. There's a lot happening with the Australian Government; More than perhaps out here," he said.

The Ministry of Business and Innovation (MBI) says roll bars remain a farmer's choice. It won't promote or require quad bikes to use devices like the Lifeguard until the protective values have been firmly proven.

But Quadbar NZ owner Stuart Davidson says there's no doubt roll bars save lives. He supports Suckling, and says they are getting plenty of interest from the farming sector.

"They've got blood on their hands really," he said of the MBI.

The Lifeguards go on sale in a few weeks.