A field study of quad bikes has revealed risk factors that contribute to drivers losing control.
In the past 10 years, 48 people have died on quad bikes, and University of Otago researchers say vital new information could help reduce the accident rate.
A study of 30 farm workers in South Otago has found those with a tendency to steer uphill instead of downhill while traversing left-facing slopes had the most accidents. Of the group, 19 had experienced loss of control of the vehicle.
A device fitted to the bikes which worked out the roll and pitch by measuring tilt relative to gravity, showed that those 19 drifted uphill on left-facing slopes.
Co-author Dr Stephen Milosavljevic says the throttle is on the right handlebar, and trying to turn uphill on a left-facing slope crowds the throttle, meaning the rider cannot steer uphill.
Dr Milosavljevic says it is safer to turn downhill if you are on a left-facing slope.
He says it is possible a tilt warning device could be designed to warn farmers of dangerous slopes.
Researchers say stability issues are compounded in this situation because the driver must use their right hand to control the throttle.