CHANGE OVER: Lee Kernaghan swaps his hat for a helmet

Lee Kernaghan swaps the hat for the helmet

Yamaha safety ambassador encourages helmet use for ATV quad bikes.

LEE Kernaghan is swapping his hat for a helmet in his role as Yamaha ambassador.

The country music legend and winner of thirty six golden guitars is a passionate supporter of safe All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) and Side by Side Vehicle (SSV) use.

“At the centre of my life is family, so being able to get out with my boys and do some scrub bashing and get on the bikes is a real passion,” Mr Kernaghan said.

TEAM UP: Country music star, Lee Kernaghan, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland agriculture strategy unit manager, Fiona O’Sullivan and the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries' Mark Collins.

ATV safety is an important agricultural issue.  ATVs were accounted  the highest cause of death and injuries on farm in 2016. 

Mark Collins ATV safety expert and representative for the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) said there were some key learnings from recent coronial inquests into ATV fatalities.

“Twenty percent were children who should have not have been on the bike in the first place,” said Mr Collins speaking to journalists at a Yamaha event. 

Mr Collins also spoke to the statistic that in thirty percent of cases the fatality could have been avoided by wearing a helmet.

Ten percent of fatalities were attributed to riding with extra passengers and another ten percent related to alcohol use said Mr Collins. 

Combined this indicates that seventy percent of ATV fatalities are directly preventable with control measures. The remaining thirty percent could be reduced through training and advice he concluded.

Lee Kernaghan

The statistics are that one in five quad bike fatalities are children under the age of sixteen on adult sized bikes according to the FCAI.

Mr Kernaghan said that when the family travel to their property in Pottsville there are some rules in place to ensure safety. 

"Number one safety rule on our property we don’t let kids under sixteen on adult size ATVs, I've looked at the statistics,” he said. 

Children riding full size ATVs, inexperience and incorrect riding technique heighten the potential for an accident to occur according to the FCAI.

“Full sized ATVs are not designed for children under 16 years of age,” said the FCAI. 

“Every year, children suffer serious injuries riding ATVs they can’t control nor ride safely. Parents should not allow kids on these machines,” states their website. 

Mr Kernaghan has encouraged his sons Jet and Rock to do the training, both online and face to face.

The online training is an initiative of the FCAI and targets remote users. The training is available at atvsafety.snaplearn.com.au at no charge.

Yamaha ATV safety training at Mount Cotton Queensland

Mr Collins said that the industry had designed online training to be used in conjunction with accredited training and that it is useful for both experienced riders and new entrants. 

“Its a nice introduction and hopefully people can get a better idea about contributing factors to crashes and what they can do about reducing their risk,” he said.

Mr Kernagahan is a believer in helmet use. 

“I never want to see my boys or anyone really riding around without a helmet on,” 

“I want to encourage everyone to wear a helmet, they are not only doing themselves a favour they are doing it for their family,” he said.

Scott McNally from motor cycle accessory company Ficeda said only twenty percent of ATV riders wear a helmet

With an average if 15 fatalities per year five of these would have been prevented if they were wearing a helmet he said.

Ficeda surveyed farmers through Yamaha dealers and field days to gain insight into helmet use. 

The soon to be released Shark ATV helmet is fit for Australian conditions.

The research said that farmers didn't want to wear a helmet due to "too hot, too heavy, hard to get on and off & can't hear animals," he said.

Mr McNally said that Ficeda Accessories then approached Shark Helmets with the brief to design a helmet that was both fully certified and fit for use in Australian ATV use conditions. 

This resulted in the soon to be released Shark ATV helmet.

Mr McNally said that it was also important to use helmets in side by side vehicles (SSV) not just ATVs.

Lee Kernaghan demonstrating that helmets are important in SSV riding.

The five star safety controls are the industries recommendation for ATV riders.  

Unlike the five star system for vehicles the system is based around controls the rider can put in place.

For more information on the five star safety controls click here.

Sharon O’Keeffe travelled to Brisbane as a guest of Yamaha. She was provided ATV training and a Shark helmet as part of the Kodiak ATV media launch.

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