New Zealand Herald: Passes & Fails in Quad Bike Tests

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19.01.14 - New Zealand Herald: Passes & Fails in Quad Bike Tests

"Quad bike design gets a lot of flak in Driven. Appalled at the high injury rate among riders of these machines, we've said that rather than making changes such as the fitting of roll protection, an entirely new ATV concept should be designed and developed.

But have we been fair?

If quad bikes are really so poorly designed, where are the hard facts? And what if a quad bike manufacturer were selling a bike far less likely to tip over than the rest? How would we know if this were the case, and if it were, how unfair of Driven to damn the good bikes with the bad ones.

Well, thanks to those pragmatic Aussies this kind of argument could soon be satisfied. In Australia, where quads are the leading cause of deaths on farms, the National Farmers Federation wants to put the issue on to a more factual basis.

It is backing a plan by the University of New South Wales' transport and road safety unit to test quads and side-by-sides to create a comparative safety star rating system.

"We need to look at the safety of these off-road, recreational and farm vehicles and the best way to do that is apply science," says the university's Professor Raphael Grzebieta. "That's why we have commenced a three-stage programme involving tilt-table testing, testing of 16 different models at Eastern Creek Raceway and crash worthiness testing.

One of the star performers to emerge from testing has been an Australian-built off-road vehicle called the Tomcar

It's the adaptation of an ATV designed for military use in Israel. The Tomcar can reach an astonishing 45deg angle before tipping over, can travel down an almost vertical drop, and carry a one-tonne load.

The people behind this pricey (probably $25,000-$30,000 in New Zealand) vehicle want the star rating system to proceed as soon as possible." 

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