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ACCC ‘frustrated’ by quad bike industry pushback as another child dies

But the commission’s recommendation that ATVs and quad bikes be fitted with protection devices that mitigate the risk of injury from rollovers has been met by industry resistance.

Manufacturer pushback

Manufacturers Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha have warned that mandatory protection devices would force them to abandon the Australian market.

Yamaha also said the devices were “likely to cause as many injuries as they may prevent”.

“The science behind the draft is both faulty and selective,” director Brad Ryan said. “Enforced behavioural standards rather than product modification are the solution.”

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The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) has fallen in behind the manufacturers, saying the protection devices have “no safety benefit”.

But Mr Keogh said the commission has been frustrated by the response.

“As far as we can tell there’s in excess of 10,000 quad bikes already in use in Australia with those protection devices installed in response to various state government initiatives,” he said.

“We are not aware of any reports of any injuries attributable to [the devices], or any fatalities arising from the use of those quad bikes.”

Myley Maxwell, 6, died in a quad bike crash on a rural NSW property in March 2017.

Myley Maxwell, 6, died in a quad bike crash on a rural NSW property in March 2017.

SafeWork NSW offers rebates for the purchase of rollover protection devices. Mr Keogh said there was “no real life evidence” to support manufacturers’ claims and they had only cited computer simulation studies.

‘Too dangerous’ for children

While debate has raged over protection devices, stakeholders have united to say children should not be driving ATVs or quad bikes.

The boy who died on Monday was believed to be driving a Yamaha YXZ1000R, a more powerful ATV than a quad bike, police said.

Last month a coronial inquest into the death of six-year-old Myley Maxwell recommended adults face criminal prosecution for allowing children under 16 to ride adult-sized quad bikes.

Mr Keogh said there was “no justification” for children under 16 to be riding adult-sized quad bikes (or ATVs).

“They are simply too dangerous for children to be driving, particularly as most of them drive over rough terrain,” he said.

FCAI chief executive Tony Weber said there should be “three fundamental behavioural changes to how people work with ATVs”.

“Don’t let children operate the vehicle, wear a helmet [and] educate users,” he said.

Mr Keogh said those measures still did not remedy for rollovers that crush people or the “inherent instability of vehicles”.

Natassia is a journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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