Quad bike and ATV ‘panic buying’ as end of imports looms
A Rockhampton quad bike retailer has reported "panic buying" as rural clients come to grips with the vehicles' disappearance off the Australian market within 16 months.
Tony Patterson, from Farm and Garden Products on Yaamba Rd, said it wasn't viable for international manufacturers to comply with new Australian safety legislation introduced last year.
"Australia represents about 2.5 per cent of the world market so it's not economical for companies such as Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki and Polaris to install crush protection devices," he said.
"This means that property owners all over the world will still be able to buy imported quad bikes and all-terrain vehicles but Australians will have to opt for side-by-sides.
"This is going to be a real problem for some graziers out west who have to operate in dense scrub where the side-by-sides, which are physically wider, may not be able to access."
The forced safety upgrade follows an escalation in serious quad bike crashes.
There have been four quad bike/side-by-side accidents reported in Central Queensland this month, including one fatality on a Marlborough property.
The new legislation first requires a 'first stage' compliance, as of October 2020, that manufacturers perform a 'tilt test' which rates the vehicle's stability, and attach ratings stickers to the bikes.
The second stage requires all imported vehicles to be fitted with the equivalent of a roll bar by October 2020, and it is this measure which international manufacturers have declined to agree to.
"There's a lot of people canvassing to have the decision reversed but it's difficult when it's a matter of human life," Mr Patterson said.
"Mind you, statistically speaking, riding a quad bike is safer than riding a bicycle and they can't attach roll bars to them, can they?"
Farm and Garden Products will start giving away free safety helmets with sales of Polaris quad bikes and side-by-sides which range from 450 to 1000CC.
"We should have a discussion with landowners when it comes to safety procedures on their properties involving quad bikes and ATVs," Mr Patterson said.
"But, at the end of the day, everybody has to take responsibility for their own safety, whether they're on a horse, a pushbike or a motor vehicle.
"Too many times it's the young kids, riding high power bikes, maybe with alcohol involved, who are getting themselves in accidents and I don't think any legislation is going to prevent that."