Farmers moving from All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) to Side by Side Vehicles (SSVs)

Oct 20, 2021

For many decades Australian farmers have used ATVs extensively on their properties for many tasks and to simply transport themselves over many different and difficult types of off-road terrain.  This trend now appears to be changing as SSVs are becoming more popular.

ATVs have proven their value for off-road work and recreation activities and it is believed there are in excess of 300,000 units in use today throughout Australia.

With the introduction of a new ACCC Quad Bike Standard in 2021 requiring all new ATVs to be fitted with an ‘Operator Protective Device’ (OPD), the major well respective ATV manufacturers have stopped importing new ATVs into Australia as they don’t believe the new standard will improve safety.  International studies have shown that these OPDs do not improve rider safety, so it makes sense that no other country in the world requires fitment.  In fact Israel has reversed a requirement for OPD fitment this year, as they found there was no net safety benefit in a real world study of ATV rollovers.

SSVs may not be as small or nimble as ATVs for some tasks, but they are just as capable negotiating difficult off-road terrains, and they bring other benefits into rural workplaces.

Of most benefit is the SSV’s ability to carry passengers, transport goods and tow heavier loads that what is possible for an ATV.

Compared to an ATV, the controls of an SSV will be more familiar to most people as they are very similar to those of a 4WD vehicle.  SSVs also offer more comfort for the driver/passenger with seats and weather protection.

People considering buying an SSV for either work or recreation purposes, need to follow the manufacturer’s safety advice and warnings as summarised in the SSV Industry’s 5 Star Safety Guide:

  1. Select the right vehicle: Select the vehicle that is best suited to your situation, consider the terrain, the drivers and tasks and choose the most appropriate vehicle.
  2. Protect yourself: Make sure you are alert and able to operate the SSV safely;
    • Use the seatbelts, doors and netting and keep your whole body within the SSV
    • Always wear a helmet and protective gear
    • Do not use the SSV whilst under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  1. Be Trained: Training will enable you to fully understand the vehicle attributes and limitations, and assist you with the techniques and strategies for safe use.
  2. Safe users and loads:
    • Never allow children under the age of 16 to operate the SSV
    • Never carry more passengers that there are seats and seatbelts, and do not carry passengers in the tray
    • Never overload your vehicle and reduce loads on difficult or steep terrain
    • Do not drive the SSV on sealed surfaces, it is designed for off-road use only.
  1. Understand and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations
    • Always read the manufacturer’s recommendations
    • Take note of the warning labels on the vehicle and the owner’s manual
    • Maintain and service your vehicle so it’s in good working order

More information can be found on this website.

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