New ATV laws commence

By: Anthony Wingard

Presented by

Phase Two of the Australian Government’s Consumer Goods (Quad Bikes) Safety Standard 2019 Act has come into effect, requiring all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) to adhere to stronger safety interventions.

CFMoto released an OPD quad bike in 2020

From October 11, all quad bikes must be fitted with an operator protection device (OPD), or have one integrated into their design.

All general-use model ATVs must also meet minimum stability requirements including a minimum tilt table ratio (TTR) of 0.55 for lateral stability and a minimum TTR of 0.8 for front and rear longitudinal pitch stability.

The laws will apply to all new and second hand imported general use quad bikes sold in the country. 

These requirements follow the initial safety measures implemented in the first phase of the legislation which meant all ATV vehicles must meet the specific safety requirements of the United States or European Union.

All quad bikes must also be tested for their lateral static stability using a title table test with the angle at which the vehicle tips onto two wheels displayed on a hang tag when on sale.

Visible labels must also be fixed onto the quad bike alerting operators of the risks of rollovers. Additional rollover safety information must be included in the owner’s manual as well.

Failure to comply with the standard may result in fines and penalties for offending ATV dealerships.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission deputy chair, Mick Keogh, says now is the right time to act in hope of minimising ATV-related deaths on farms. 

"Quad bike accidents are the leading cause of death and injury on Australian farms and the mandatory safety standard will be critical in saving lives," Keogh says.

"A high proportion of quad bike accidents are due to rollovers, and the additional safety requirements that are about to come into force include physical design changes to mitigate rollover risks.

"Suppliers have had a two-year transition period to prepare for the new requirements and those who are still not compliant risk enforcement action."

The Consumer Goods (Quad Bikes) Safety Standard 2019 Act was implemented following a high number of ATV-related deaths on Australian farms. 

Across the past decade, 163 people have died in quad-bike related incidents – the leading cause of death and serious injuries on Australian farms. 

Unfortunately, there have been six quad bike fatalities in Australia this year as of September 16. 

The enaction of the act has seen many ATV manufacturers relinquish their share of the Australian quad bike market, citing the financial costs associated with fitting units with OPDs as well as the various other safety requirements.

Major manufacturers such as Polaris, Yahama, Honda and Suzuki have all withdrawn from the Australian ATV market. 

Other manufacturers however, such as Segway, CFMoto and Kymco have all committed to meeting the new regulations and will continue selling compliant ATVs in Australia. 

The new laws have already had some effect on the ag-machinery industry, with dealerships preparing for the start of phase two. 

Stuart Hauser, Dealer Principle at the Lismore-based Agrihaus, who distribute CFMoto quad bikes around the country says the transition to the new roll overprotective structure (ROPs), has been seamless and says potential customers haven’t been deterred by the new regulations. 

"Our top selling brand, CFMoto, have jumped the gun with the new regulations and each ATV arrives to our store supplied with the ROPS," Hauser says.

"CFMoto have actually been supplying our ATVs with the ROPS, standard for the last 12 months leading up to phase two.

"Agrihaus have definitely already experienced very high rates in sales and interest in our CFMoto ATV range this past year. We believe this to be partly due to being one of the few brands that will continue complying with the new laws, however, also due the quality and value for money of these machines.

"Most customers have queried the design of the new ROPS and its effectiveness, yet after being further informed, would no longer purchase an ATV without it. We have noticed record high numbers in both sales and interest in ATVs over the last few months."

Hauser also says the new laws are imperative for increasing farm safety. 

"Due to the number of deaths caused each year by ATV roll overs, it is obvious that action needed to be taken," he says.

"Hopefully all existing customers and/or future ATV owners will keep the ROPS fitted to their machines and ride with caution." 

With the laws now in place, consumers and businesses can lodge complaints to the ACCC if they believe a quad bike has been on sale sold, which does not meet the new safety requirements.

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