Another Queensland-based farm organisation has joined the pushback against mandatory rollover devices on quad bikes.
The Green Shirts Movement has joined Queensland's peak rural organisation, AgForce, in questioning the compulsory fitting of operator protection devices (OPDs) on imported new and second-hand quad bikes from October next year.
Green Shirts has teamed up with Save the Quad Bike in Australia in the ongoing and divisive quad bike safety debate.
The movement's Lockyer Valley cluster co-ordinator and national director of membership and fundraising Chris Green said legislation to force manufacturers to fit rollover devices on quad bikes was a clear example of elected officials not listening to the bush.
Green Shirts is a grassroots, not for profit, movement of individuals and families concerned about the increasing divide between food and fibre consumers and primary producers.
Founder of Save the Quad Bike in Australia, Craig Hartley, was invited to speak at a Green Shirts forum three weeks ago.
Major manufacturers of quad bikes including Honda and Yamaha have announced they will withdraw from the Australia market because of their opposition to mandatory rollover devices.
Mr Green said he had been "gobsmacked" when he heard that manufacturers had pleaded from the start to focus on quad bike education, training and licensing for the farm sector but were rejected.
"It is also very disappointing to also realise the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) failed to address the social and economic ramifications of this decision on rural Australia. It's just all very disheartening and I applaud AgForce for taking a stance."
Mr Hartley said now was the time to talk about the development of a national harmonised approach to education, training and licensing surrounding quad bike safety.
"Doing so will inject revenue into rural Australia, save thousands of jobs, keep millions of dollars of revenue in local towns and most importantly, save lives," Mr Hartley said.
He has predicted 200 motorcycle dealerships in the bush will be forced to close if the major manufacturers disappear from the market.
The quad bike debate has developed into a series of dogfights between the opposing camps in what has become an angry and long debate.
One one side are the ACCC, National Farmers Federation and Rural Doctors Association of Australia who say the fitting of rollover devices is a no-brainer in the battle to reduce the high death toll and injury rate from quad bike accidents.
The quad bike manufacturers, Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, Save the Quad Bike in Australia, Agforce, some individual farmers and now the Green Shirts Movement have weighed in against rollover devices.
Their opposition is based on a number of areas including a view that OPDs on their own won't reduce deaths, the need to ban children from riding on quads, the need for much more education and training, the licensing of riders and the compulsory wearing of safety gear such as helmets.
New research from the United States indicating rollover devices can play a key role in protecting riders during accidents has triggered more disagreement among the warring parties.
The research was pounced on by the ACCC as more evidence that rollover devices are needed on quad bikes in Australia.
But the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) accused the ACCC of cherry picking from the research report commissioned by the American Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
"Significantly, the CPSC has not made any recommendations for or against the fitment of OPDs, indicating the study is inconclusive," FCAI chief executive Tony Weber said.
"The ACCC claimed the study shows support for OPDs and has strongly promoted the study in the media," he said.
"Unfortunately, it appears the ACCC has cherry picked random points from the study to support their position of making OPDs mandatory, at the same time ignoring any facts that do not support their argument.
"The CPSC study does not support one of the major claims of the ACCC's Quad Bike Final Recommendations which state: 'Quad bikes with OPDs will improve the safety of consumers and reduce fatalities where an operator would have otherwise been pinned underneath the quad bike with a force sufficient to cause asphyxia or serious chest injuries'.
"Previous studies commissioned by the FCAI and undertaken by Dynamic Research Inc (DRI), an independent US firm, have clearly shown there is no net safety benefit in fitting an OPD to an ATV (all-terrain vehicle)," Mr Weber said.
"There are documented cases in Australia where the fitment of OPDs has shown to cause serious injury outcomes for the rider.
"Photographs taken from the CPSC's own report are a grim illustration of just what can happen when an OPD is fitted.
"In this scenario, the OPD has changed the roll-over dynamics to increase the vehicle's height and caused it to fall with greater force, ultimately crushing and coming to rest on top of the rider.
"In light of the original DRI research findings, the leading ATV manufacturers have refused to fit after-market OPDs to their vehicles and are now planning to exit the Australian market.
"This exodus will result in a lack of quality, reliable ATVs for rural and agricultural use and will leave a gaping hole in the 'toolbox' of thousands of Australian farmers."
Since 2011, 149 people have died from quad bike related accidents in Australia, 23 of whom have been children, the ACCC has said.
The first tranche of the Federal Government's quad bike safety standards will be introduced next month when all new and second hand imported general use quad bikes sold will be required to have a test tag attached indicating the angle at which they will rollover .
From October next year all quads will have to be fitted with an OPD before sale.
Have you signed up to Stock & Land's daily newsletter? Register below to make sure you are up to date with everything that's important to Victorian agriculture.
The story Green Shirts join fight on quad bike rollover devices first appeared on Queensland Country Life.