All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) launch of Police Education Programme

  • George Hawkins
Internal Affairs

Good morning everyone.

It gives me great pleasure join my colleague Ruth Dyson Minister for ACC to co-host this very important resource launch.

I wish to extend a special welcome to the family of Georgina Bowling, her mother Janneke (pronounced Yaanaka), father Richard and sister Paris.

Also with us are Janneke’s parents Mr and Mrs Van Velthooven and other members of Georgina’s family.

Welcome also to the children of Dyer St School who are here today representing the children of New Zealand.

I also wish to take this opportunity to welcome the staff from Police and ACC especially those who have worked closely with the family to develop this resource.

In less than one month Constable Tony Barrow of Blenheim Police attended three fatals of people who had been riding ATVs. Georgina Bowling was one of those deaths, the other involved a father and his 4 year old son.

Constable Barrow was very concerned about what he had seen and in a visit to the Bowlings a few weeks after Georgina’s funeral, they decided they needed to do something to increase awareness of the risks associated with ATVs.

ACC heard of the work commenced by the Bowlings and Constable Barrow and came on board.

The focal point of the resource is the video about Georgina that we will view in a few moments. The video is supported by a classroom teaching resource.

It contains a number of important but clear messages about ATVs. The key message is that ATVs are machinery and should not be used by anyone under 16 years.

The programme aims to instil some key messages about ATV’s and you will see here today some messages that one class came up with. We must all remember that ATV’s are not toys and are not for children

Many people see ATVs as fun and exciting, but at the end of the day they are farm equipment.

The programme also looks at the tragedy that could occur if an accident such as Georgina’s, or those attended by Constable Barrow, is repeated.

The Programme will be taken into schools by the country’s 140 Police Education Officers.

Training for delivery of the programme will also be given to the Rural One/Two Man Police Stations. This will help to ensure rural communities will benefit from the safety information.

But the messages in the programme are pertinent to adults and urban dwellers. Adults need to appreciate the potential dangers of under 16s riding ATVs.

Often visitors to rural properties put pressure on owners “to have a go” on “farm bikes”.

Such requests need to be resisted where the rider is not an adult. People also need to be aware that “doubling” on these bikes is also extremely dangerous and should not be permitted.

Georgina was a lovely bright enthusiastic 8 year old who badgered her father to let her ride on his ATV on their property. Finally, as parents do, Richard allowed her to have a go, but insisted she take the precaution of wearing a helmet. Georgina’s ride cost her her life, but her family have shown enormous courage to work with ACC and Police to develop this resource. And today we thank them for that.

This resource is Georgina’s legacy to her peers and children growing up in Aoetaora in years to come.

That legacy is simple and clear. We all need to take the message that ATV’s are not for children.

Thank you.