COMMENT:

While we spend a lot of time angsting over whether helmets should be worn on Lime scooters, or whether they should be ridden on footpaths or not, spare a thought for quad bikes.

The number of quad bike deaths in this country, according to one coroner, is unacceptably high.

Deaths reached a record high in 2016, and that's before we get to all the serious harm injuries.

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According to injury statistics, 845 people are injured on quad bikes each year - 190 of those are seriously hurt.

It's not a new problem, nor is it an unknown one. So why are people still dying on quad bikes?

There were two incidents at the weekend.
One in Hawke's Bay on Saturday, another in the King Country - both accidents resulted in deaths and appear to have involved the quad bikes rolling.

Just two weeks ago another quad bike rolled and a 26-year-old woman was killed in Northland.

It's not like these incidents don't get public attention, yet we seem to still have a problem with quad bikes.

The question is how preventable are these deaths?

There've been calls for more vigilant farm safety practises for a long time, but it's hard to know how many people take good safe practise seriously. And how many still adopt the 'she'll be right' approach.

Are risks on farms carefully communicated and attempts made to mitigate them?
Most reasonable farmers would say yes.

But in an environment like a farm, factors can change all the time – weather, grounds, level of terrain, loads, the condition of the paddock.

A hill might be perfectly safe to take a vehicle up one day, but dangerous the next.
It can be very easy for complacency to kick in.

But it's not just working farms that have issues, there're also family farms, or lifestylers who use quad bikes for all sorts of reasons.
There's recreational riders, the ones who take it for a fang along the beach.

So how do we better minimise harm when quad bikes are used in so many applications?

It's not an easy fix, but perhaps if we put half the amount of energy we put into Lime scooters into quad bikes it may help with a little more cut-through.