Teuila Fuatai

Teuila Fuatai is a reporter for the NZ Herald

Some ATV incidents unavoidable claim Feds

Some quadbike accidents are unavoidable, Federated Farmers says.

Rotorua and Taupo provincial president Neil Heather said accidents were "part of working on bikes".

"Some things are unpredictable - farming is unpredictable and some things just happen."

ACC figures showed nearly 140 injury claims in the Rotorua district related to incidents on all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) in the past three years.

Fifty-two occurred last year, up from 33 the previous year. The figures included accidents on quad bikes, farms bikes, four-wheeler and three-wheeler vehicles.

Last month, a 40-year-old man was taken to Taupo hospital with a possible concussion after a quadbike incident at Taupo Quad adventures.

Mr Heather said farming accidents often occurred on quadbikes when people were distracted. "When you're moving stock or something and you're driving a quadbike, or even if you're driving over the farm you're not always looking in front.

"You're looking at what else is happening on the farm."

The sheep and beef farmer admitted many farmers, including himself, were guilty of performing other tasks while driving.

People should probably stop driving if they are checking on other things, he said.

A Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment survey of 800 farm owners and managers found 16 per cent more farmers reported some or all riders were wearing helmets, compared with 2010.

Helmet sales had also increased, nearly doubling in the 12 months to June last year, the ministry said.

Ona de Rooy, MBIE general manager health and safety operations, said the results were encouraging but there were still too many quadbike accidents.

A breakdown of ACC figures showed ATV work-related injury claims had barely reduced in the past five years. Last year, 761 work-related claims were accepted nationally, compared with 766 in 2008.

In total, 29 people have died in work-related quadbike crashes between 2006-2012, according to the MBIE.

Federated Farmers health and safety spokeswoman Jeanette Maxwell said that while quad bikes were mostly used on farms, not all crashes were farm-related.

"That distinction is an important one because farm-related quad bike injury and death remains, thankfully, rare."

About 35 per cent of ATV injury claims are classed as work-related each year, according to ACC. Despite this, on average,"at-work" claims comprise nearly half of the total cost of ATV claims annually.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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