Background Quad bikes are the leading cause of fatal injury in Australian farm settings. A major issue has been manufacturers' resistance to improve the design of their products in relation to stability and protection in the event of a rollover.
Aim This paper provides a summary of the similarities between the tactics adopted by the quad bike manufacturers' in resisting change and that of the tobacco industry.
Method Historical document review and source information from key stakeholders.
Results Both industries have established grandiosely titled ‘institutes’ to garner public respect and commissioned ‘independent’ research to assess and present data supporting their stance. While the quality of the ‘independent’ findings has been shown to be invalid, they have continued to perpetuate these results. Extensive advertising is used to open new markets and ensnare customers for life (particularly children). Both have incessantly lobbied governments and other agencies, playing on cries of ‘nanny state’. Most alarmingly, their emphasis has been that people know the risks associated with these products and can choose to make their own decisions. However, no credence is given to the fact that the design of both products is flawed and fundamentally unsafe when used.
Significance As occurred with the tobacco industry, well-planned, evidence-based and persistent action can be used to negate these tactics by multi-national quad bike manufacturers.