Quad bike safety is an at­ti­tude thing

South Waikato News - - Out & About - AARON LEAMAN

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.

TAYLOR/STUFF

Win­tec stu­dents Cait­lynn Wendt and Hay­den Thorn and Win­tec’s De­sign Hub tu­tor Elna Fourie, far right.mark Cait­lynn Wendt

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