Two thirds of farmers still do not wear a helmet when they ride ATVs and quad bikes, alarming new research suggests.
The University of Aberdeen report found that 63.5% of respondents stated they owned a helmet but only a third (29.9%) reported wearing a helmet frequently or always.
The research pinpointed several underlying factors, ranging from personal perceptions about helmets and personal barriers that stop farm workers wearing a helmet when using an ATV on their site.
The study, by Dr Amy Irwin and Jana Mihulkova, highlighted farmers' responses such as 'I do not go fast enough to need head protection in a crash' and 'I feel that helmets are unnecessary for short rides'.
Other comments in the report included 'helmets are only necessary for children aged 16 and below' and 'you only need a helmet if riding on the road'.
Responding to the report, off-road vehicle brand Can-Am, which is owned by BRP, said it wanted to help farmers tackle this safety issue in 2021 .
James Dalke, BRP UK commercial manager said: “The fact that people have a helmet and do not wear it and the reasons why they don’t, reflects a mindset that we are aiming to change through education."
Seven rules for ATVs
The manufacturer has issued farmers and other ATV users seven 'golden rules' as part of its global responsible rider programme:
• Always wear the correct personal protective equipment such as a helmet, boots, long sleeve shirt and trousers when out riding
• Prepare an itinerary before setting off and communicate it to the people close to you (colleagues, friends or family)
• Follow the recommendations for use that are specified by the manufacturer in the operator’s guide as well as on the safety labels placed on the vehicle
• Follow maintenance instructions as recommended by the manufacturer
• Inspect the vehicle before use to make sure it is in good working order
• Take along communication devices and breakdown equipment
• Be mindful of the animals you come across and do not damage their natural habitat