Home' Smart Farmer : May 2012 Contents May 2012
All Terrain Vehicles
By DAVID EAST
IRST, it was the two-wheel
motor bike and then came the
accident-prone and shortlived
three-wheel trike which was quickly
replaced with the quad or all-terrain
With their rugged go-anywhere
ability, the ATV has become a mod-
ern-day workhorse on many proper-
ties, replacing the utility and tractor
for many jobs.
The development of more power-
ful engines and improved gear boxes
-- some semi-automatic and/or
hydrostatic --that in many cases
some models, of a
power takeoff and
have contributed to the growing
popularity of the machine.
It was, perhaps, the introduction
of front and rear carry racks that
really changed the role of ATVs from
their original 'fun machine' image to
a true workhorse vehicle.
These racks proved invaluable to
landholders for carrying tools and
tool boxes, pipe fittings and nearly
all the other things that are general-
ly required when out and about on a
The development of a host of
accessory and ancillary equipment
broadened the workhorse appeal
and use of the units.
Today, the ATV is more than just a
convenient person-carrying vehicle.
It can be rigged with spray tanks,
hitches to pull trailers, wick
wipers, spreaders, slashers,
rakes and grain feed-out carts.
some of the factors and features new
buyers need to think about before
buying an ATV:
• Terrain and ground conditions
• Power and speed requirements
• Gear ratios required, including
the need for reverse
• Type of attachments and acces-
• Weight of accessories and
• Carrying capacity of accessories
• Centre of gravity in relation to
• Tyre pressures required
• Terrain, speed of operation,
mechanical conditions and operat-
ing skill -- factors associated with
accident and injury causation.
Accessory fit and use
It is important to follow the man-
ufacturer's instructions when fitting
and using accessories. They include:
• Using only the mounting points
and not altering the drawbar height
provided by the manufacturer as
incorrect attachment can increase
instability and cause overturns
• Not altering the height of the
mounting points or increasing the
towing capacity which could affect
braking and increase the risk of
• Ensuring all guards are in place
and the machine and the attach-
ments can be easily operated from
Quad on check list
Exercise extra caution in tough terrain.
Insect in the eye 4
Ran into fence 6
Ran over object 4
Hit rut or animal 6
Rolled over 23
Human error 11
Lost control 3
Caught up in wire 3
Lost balance 7
Collided with animal 7
Ran over self 5
Hit stationary object 17
With another vehicle
With a fence
With an animal
With stationary object
Thrown from ATV
Fallen/knocked off ATV
Thrown over handle bars
Pinned between ATV and object
Unknown or not stated
Source: NFIDC 2006 (last published)
ATV Safety Survey & Report
the seated position.
• Applying the correct load ratings
on the front and rear carrier racks to
• Only ride at speeds slow enough
to retain control over the unexpect-
ed such as unstable surfaces, other
riders, and frightened animals.
• Descend slopes carefully by
keeping the machine in low gear and
allowing the engine compression to
act as a brake.
• Never allow passengers on an
ATV unless it has specifically
designed to carry more than the dri-
• Never allow anybody to operate
the ATV without adequate training
or if they are underage or if they may
be under the influence of alcohol or
• Keep children away from the
machine and its attachments.
• Ensure all guards are in place,
particularly foot plates.
• Adjust all controls so they can be
operated comfortably and safely
• Always wear a helmet or face
shield, goggles, reinforced boots,
gloves and suitable clothing.
• Be aware of the risks from heat
stress, solar radiation and dehydra-
tion when working in hot condi-
• Undertake a regular mainte-
nance program, especially steering,
brakes, drive chains and shafts and
keep the tyres correctly inflated.
• Never overload the carry racks.
• Make a rule of not carrying pas-
• Make all riders undertake some
formal operational training.
If you have an ATV or are considering buying one, these safety checks, and a buyer's
guide on page 10-11, will keep you on track.
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