Staying on the Safe Side of Quad Helmet Law

“Morning Dad,” Pebbles yells out, as she sees Freddy pull up on his quad bike.  “Great to see you’re using your head, and wearing a helmet.”

“Yeah, well I see these days, if I don’t it could cost me $15,000.” Freddie grumbles. 

“Ah, so you have heard about the Marlborough farmhand that was fined $15,000 for not wearing a helmet while riding his quad bike?” Pebbles asks.

“Yes, I have, and it’s absolutely ridiculous!” exclaims Freddy.  “I understand that quad bikes are dangerous farming equipment, that you need to be trained in how to use them, and even that helmets are a mandatory and an important piece of safety equipment.  But it seems to me that this fine is all out of proportion.   Take for example, Pebbles, traffic fines.” Freddy continues.  “If I was caught driving my vehicle at excessive speed, or while not wearing a seatbelt, or even for not wearing a helmet on my bike on the road, that would be a traffic offence, but the fine would certainly not be as high as $15,000.” says Freddy.

“Yes, Dad, I understand your point.  The maximum fine for not wearing an approved helmet while riding a quad bike on the road under Traffic Regulations is only $1,000.  This farmhand was caught riding on his farm, and was convicted under health and safety legislation, where the maximum possible fine is $250,000. 

“Had the farmer been riding on the road without a helmet while at work, both the Traffic Regulations, and health and safety legislation apply.” explains Pebbles. 

“Well, it seems to me that the level of fine that the farmer is up for here depends entirely on whether you are at work or not, and which enforcement authority decides to take action.  Yet the dangerous consequences are the same.   I understand the importance of safety on farms. I read that on average five people are killed each year operating a quad bike.  That is five people too many.  But how high does a fine have to be to send that message?  And what if the farmer can’t afford that level of fine – can these fines be covered by insurance?” asks Freddy.

“Some will certainly view the fine as unfair, and inconsistent with fines for similar traffic related offences, and no, you can’t ensure against fines – you must pay them yourself.  On the other hand, some might say that the fine is fair enough. The farming industry has been warned before about helmets, and this particular farmer had been warned five previous times, and with a child as a passenger also with no helmet.” says Pebbles.

“Well, whatever side of the fence you might be on, it is certainly a hot topic and an interesting debate.  I for one will continue to make sure I wear that helmet even though it can get hot at times.” says Freddy.

“Yes Dad. That would be well advised.”  But we are inside now, and you can take your helmet off.” says Pebbles, with a grin.

Ah, yes.  I got so worked up, I completely forgot.” laughs Freddy.


The content of this document is necessarily general and readers should seek specific advice on particular matters and not rely solely on this document. 

If you would like more information on any of the topics in this document, please contact your usual Auld Brewer Mazengarb & McEwen adviser. 



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Philip McCarthy