Quad bike safety is an attitude thing
Practical, hands-on advice rather than whiz-bang safety features is the key to lowering the country’s quad-bike injury rate.
Students from Wintec’s Design Hub have been exploring solutions to reducing quad bike accidents on farms.
Armed with trauma data collected by the Midland Trauma System, plus their own research, the students have devised a hands-on educational programme that reinforces quad bike safety.
The programme, dubbed Bikes, Blokes and Pies, was recently presented to staff at the Midland Trauma System.
The feedback from trauma doctors and staff was overwhelmingly positive, student Caitlynn Wendt said.
‘‘They asked a lot of questions, but their main reaction was, this is great, where do we go from here?’’
Metadata mined in the central North Island shows a huge peak in quad bike injuries in the 55-to65 age group.
Wendt, 25, said her group’s research showed it was farmers’ attitude, rather than inherent safety flaws with quad bikes, which was behind the injury statistics.
‘‘Farmers favour quad bikes because they are so versatile and easy to use,’’ she said.
‘‘Farmers favour quad bikes because they are so versatile and easy to use.’’
‘‘Those that are getting injured are very comfortable using quad bikes. It’s more to do with their state of mind and attitude.
The Bikes, Blokes and Pies programme is intended to appeal to farmers’ fondness for practical learning.
The proposed two-hour course involves hands-on activities - plus refreshments like meat pies.
The proposed safety programme covers issues such as hazard awareness, weight distribution, and a user’s state of mind.
According to Worksafe NZ data, there have been 57 quad bike-related fatalities since 2006.
Sally Greenwood, a lecturer at Wintec’s Centre for Health and Social Practice, will continue the students’ work and look at the feasibility of rolling out the programme.
Her research will involve talking to farmers who have had quad bike injuries and comparing their attitudes to those who have been accident-free.
‘‘One of the things you can speculate is that these injured farmers are doing what they’ve always done, but their reactions aren’t as quick as they use to be. So perhaps they’re not recognising that, physically, they’re not in the same space they were in 20 years ago,’’ Greenwood said.
Wintec students Caitlynn Wendt and Hayden Thorn and Wintec’s Design Hub tutor Elna Fourie, far right.mark Caitlynn Wendt