EASI's response to BBC TV's Countryfile Producer

EASI's written response to BBC TV's Countryfile programme after presenter Julia Bradbury was seen to operate an ATV without wearing head protection...

Dear Countryfile Producer

I refer to BBC’s Countryfile programme aired 23rd August and in particular the piece featured on Criollo Horses.

Countryfile is renowned as a programme that reports on Rural and Environmental issues; therefore I am surprised at the insensitivity and inaccurate reporting content regarding this feature.

The piece was themed on the advantages of using Criollo Horses over ATV’s (quadbikes) on the farm in Wiltshire.

The ATV Industry, HSE and the European ATV Safety Institute (EASI) are highly committed to reducing ATV injuries sustained through improper and irresponsible operation of ATV’s; this is achieved through both training and education as well as correct exposure.

HSE information sheet AIS33 states:

“Head protection is vital. The majority of ATV fatalities in the UK in the last five years have involved head injuries. No one wearing a helmet has ever been killed in an ATV accident in the UK.”

We are successfully battling a culture of not wearing head protection within the agricultural industry. Programmes like yours are able to reach the masses and facilitate this all important message, or in the case of the programme in question dilute the message by exposing unsafe practices.

Why is it not necessary for Julia Bradbury to wear head protection whilst operating an ATV, but found it prudent to wear head protection when riding the horse?

Country Tracks (BBC Birmingham) sent their presenter Joe Crowley for practical training and a brief on ATV usage in the countryside. The European ATV Safety Institute (EASI) is a not for profit organisation dedicated to the training, education and safe usage of ATVs, and we extend the offer to train Countryfile at no cost.

If you are truly committed to Rural and Environmental issues, I urge you to join with us to change an unacceptable dangerous practice not promote one.

Very secondary to the above issue, the claim that “Horses unlike Quads do not cause erosion” is totally inaccurate and unfounded. ATVs were designed as a vehicle with low pressure tyres to reduce the impact on the environment that livestock and heavy machinery create.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Heitman


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