Those campaigning against the mandatory fitting of operator protection devices on quad bikes were "rogues" who will have "blood on the their hands" if they get their way and subsequent unprotected rollovers kill more people.
That was the president of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia's angry response to ongoing opposition to the compulsory fitting of rollover devices on new quads from October next year,
Dr John Hall said he was gobsmacked by the pushback from quad bike manufacturers like Honda and Yamaha as well as Save the Quad Bike Australia and AgForce Queensland.
"Their proposal for a paper-thin training and licensing program for quad bike users, as a replacement for a law requiring manufacturers to install operator protection devices (OPDs) on new quad bikes, is appalling.
"Given that quad bikes are invariably ridden on private land, how do they propose these so-called 'licences' will be policed?," Dr Hall said.
"Do they understand the scale of some of the properties where quad bikes are used? These are not hobby farms...they are often thousands of square kilometres in size.
"And how will licensing stop farming kids riding these bikes?
"While the bike manufacturers say they don't support their use by kids, the reality is that kids are being killed in quad bike rollovers and any amount of training or licensing is not - on its own - going to change this.
"We are all for more safety training around quad bikes but it must be against the backdrop of OPDs also being fitted.
"We are flabbergasted that this group really want to put the lives of more rural Australians at risk.
"Are they saying that, because car drivers have licences, they shouldn't have to wear seatbelts?
"And because motorcycle riders have licences, they shouldn't have to wear helmets?
"There are so many holes in this campaign it is farcical.
"To those quad bike manufacturers who are threatening to pull out of the Australian market, we say - 'See you later. If you don't care enough about the lives of Australian farmers and their children to want to ensure their safety'.
"Thankfully, there are some sensible quad bike manufacturers who will step up and install OPDs on their new quad bikes. We thank them for their commitment to the safety of rural Australians.
"The evidence is very clear - OPDs save lives. They are a much more credible safety device than the flimsy piece of paper being put forward as a 'licence'.
"Installing OPDs on new quad bikes will not add much to their overall cost but it will save countless lives.
"Half of all quad bike fatalities result from a rollover. Fourteen lives have been lost in Australian quad bike accidents in 2020 alone," Dr Hall said.
Meanwhile Simon McAdie, the ACT manager of motorcycle and quad bike training organisation, Stay Upright, said while rollover devices were a step in the right direction they would not stop people making poor decisions on quad bikes.
"In some instances they may even provide a false sense of security," he said.
"Of the recorded fatalities on quads between 2011-2018 (according to Safe Work Australia), 60 per cent were the result of rollovers with the remaining 40pc resulting from being involved in a collision, being thrown from the quad, or other factors," Mr McAdie said. .
"Agforce calling for mandatory licensing is another step in the right direction and it will help ensure people undertake quad training.
"Even when it's offered free it can be hard to get farmers along as they're typically extremely busy.
"Quad training is expensive. This is largely due to the infrequency of events, training organisations need to travel to remote locations, insurance costs and other expenses, all resulting in the price being nearly $500 per session per user," he said.
"For many farmers, the sticker price is enough of a deterrent for them to chance their arm and learn 'on the job'.
"State governments across the nation need to look at subsidising quad training in an effort to lower the barrier of entry for farmers and make training more feasible to undertake.
"This has worked for motorcycle training in NSW where sessions are subsidised and subsequently participation has boomed - new motorcycle riders need to spend just $96 on the required training.
"Making training and licensing not just compulsory but affordable and accessible is key to enabling greater safety and State Governments should look at subsidies to enable it.
"If it's still cost-prohibitive for farmers there's a risk they'll continue to learn on-the-job and even ride unlicensed," Mr McAdie said.
The story Rural doctors' boss slams 'rogue' campaign against quad bike rollover devices first appeared on Farm Online.