Farmer's death shows quads should have roll bars – coroner
Pat O'Connor, the coroner for Mayo district who conducted the inquest on Monday, has told the Irish Farmers Journal that a safety drive similar to that applied to tractors in the past should now target quads.
"There were no cabs or roll bars on tractors," Mr O'Connor said in reference to farm machinery standards a few decades ago. "A number of farmers died in accidents when tractors overturned."
As quads are now more widely used in farming and other outdoor businesses as well as recreationally, Mr O'Connor pointed out that "there is nothing to protect the driver of the quad if, as in this case, the quad topples over."
The jury in the inquest into the death of farmer Michael Anthony O'Malley at Ballyheane near Castlebar last September found that the fatality was an accident. The quad he was driving on an incline overturned and Mr O'Malley "couldn't extricate himself after it landed on him," Mr O'Connor explained.
Aside from roll bars, the coroner said quad drivers should be provided with better safety instructions. "I'm not suggesting for a moment there should be over-regulation, but at least guidelines," he said.
Legislation provides for coroners' courts to make recommendations. However, they are not binding unless politicians decide to change rules as a result.