Farming News - Two thirds of farmers still not wearing a helmet, new survey reveals

Two thirds of farmers still not wearing a helmet, new survey reveals

According to new research, two thirds of users still don’t wear a helmet when they ride ATVs because they feel foolish wearing them on their own farm or don’t believe they ride fast enough to warrant them. To help combat this issue and to ensure that the importance of wearing a helmet is highlighted among users when driving an ATV, Can-Am* is introducing its seven golden rules for ATV usage as part of its responsible riding programme

The report, carried out by Dr Amy Irwin and Jana Mihulkova from the University of Aberdeen, found that 63.5 per cent of respondents stated they owned a helmet but only a third of the sample (29.9 per cent) 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 results highlighted the following comments:

  1. Personal perceptions:
  • I do not go fast enough to need head protection in a crash
  • I feel that helmets are unnecessary for short rides
  • Helmets are less important for those who ride their ATV infrequently
  • Since I am not racing or doing any stunts I don’t really need a helmet
  • Helmets are only necessary for children aged 16 and below
  • If you are an experienced rider you don’t need a helmet
  • Its more important to drive carefully than it is to wear a helmet
  • You only need a helmet if riding on the road
  • You only need a helmet if riding on hills
  • I would not want to spend money on an ATV helmet
  1. The norms on site:
  • As an adult I feel foolish wearing a helmet just to ride round my property
  • Wearing a helmet makes me look stupid if no-one else is wearing one
  • Hardly anyone I know wears a helmet
  1. The barriers presented by helmet cost and comfort:
  • ATV helmets are uncomfortable to wear
  • ATV helmets make the user too hot
  • Wearing an ATV helmet can impair your hearing
  1. Daily issues
  • I often forget to wear my helmet
  • When in a rush I am less likely to put my helmet on
  • I can never find my helmet when I am getting ready to ride my ATV
  • If I am tired, I am less likely to wear a helmet

To tackle this issue in 2021 and beyond and to highlight the importance of responsible riding in general, Can-Am is committing to educate new and existing users with 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

James Dalke, BRP commercial manager UK and Ireland, says “As a brand, we are committed to upholding health & safety standards, and our partnership with EASI enables us to offer training to all Can-Am customers. 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, as ATVs are the vehicles of choice for farm workers to carry out daily tasks.”

*Can-Am is a motorcycle production division of BRP