Christmas holidays are often an opportunity to visit friends and family on properties around the country – properties where ATVs and SSVs are used as versatile farm machinery. The temptation for younger riders to take these vehicles for a spin can sometimes be too much – and have fatal results.
That’s why the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) is urging parents to observe the known safety practices when operating ATVs and SSVs these holidays. It is especially important to supervise younger riders and ensure they only ride age appropriate vehicles and wear appropriate safety equipment.
Unfortunately, children are over-represented in off-road vehicle fatalities every year in Australia. Of the 15 ATV and SSV related fatalities in 2019, five were children riding vehicles designed for adults. Four of these were operating or riding as a passenger in an SSV; and one was operating an ATV that was recommended for older age groups.
Alarmingly, it appears that in the four SSV incidents, the occupants had not used the seatbelts, doors or netting that are ‘built in’ safety devices designed to reduce harm. The result – the occupants were ejected or crushed in the incident.
Safety Guidelines for SSV and ATV use:
Operators should be 16 years of age and hold a valid licence.
Passengers must be tall enough for the seat belt to fit properly and to brace themselves if needed,
by placing both feet firmly on the floor and being able to reach the hand hold.
Don’t carry more passengers than there are seats available, and never in the cargo area
Always wear a helmet, eye protection and other protective gear.
Keep doors and side nets closed. Keep your whole body inside the SSV.
Don’t drink and drive.
Stick to off-road areas and don’t use sealed roadways.
Riders must be 16 years of age to operate an adult size ATV
Always wear a helmet, eye protection and other protective gear
Never carry a passenger on a single seat ATV
Be trained and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and warnings
Never overload your vehicle and reduce loads on difficult or steep terrain.
Parents should ensure that these safety guidelines are carefully followed.