Leenane farmer opts for twin wheels on his quad to avoid further heartache

“I don’t know anyone who has had a quad bike who hasn’t fallen off it.”

That’s how a former IFA Mayo County Chairman, Martin Gavin, summarises the serious safety issue posed by quads or All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs).

Gavin, a hill sheep farmer in Leenane, was responding to Agriland’s story about safety devices for quads, which generated lots of feedback yesterday.

Also Read: Safety device for quads under HSA consideration

He knows all too well of the heartache caused by quad fatalities. One owned by him in the past was involved in a tragedy. He has also had numerous near misses, despite taking what he describes as a very cautious approach to the use of quads.

“I have a brother living in Australia, and he thinks that they are going to ban them altogether, as the devices being designed to help them don’t seem to be working,” he said.

“Individuals and companies are trying to come up with safety solutions, but the quad bike manufacturers need to get involved,” he added.

They are dangerous machines in either the wrong hands or the wrong conditions.

As a hill sheep farmer and someone who has first-hand experience of working in dangerous situations, he said quads need to be powerful enough to travel at very low speeds under pressure.

“I have invested in twin wheels for the rear of the quad, which can be changed in a matter of minutes without any tools. They help to prevent overturning in sloping terrain. They are available in this country and a few of my friends have them,” he said.

Not all quad accidents happen on hills; people using them on flat ground are often tempted to move a bit faster, Gavin said.

Once a quad starts to overturn, it’s very difficult to escape, he said.

The Leenane farmer said he tries to keep to established tracks and finds that the twin wheels have made a huge difference.

“I am delighted to see the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) taking an interest in quads,” Gavin said. “I raised this issue with the HSA in the Irish Farm Centre many years ago.

ATV quad farm accident safety

“When I told the HSA that I didn’t know anyone who had a quad bike that hadn’t fallen off, the man from the HSA told me that he hadn’t fallen off his.”

In 2015, former IFA President John Dillon, spoke about his involvement in a quad bike accident on his farm, which took half an inch off his leg.

The video below was produced by the HSA to mark Farm Safety Fortnight at that time. It tells how he was saved by the proximity of one of his sons.