ATV fatality - overturn on cliff

3 May 2016

HSE has reported that an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) quad bike rider was found dead at the foot of a cliff at Sutherland in Scotland, on 31 March 2016.

One local media report indicates that he was a shepherd in his 60s.  His quad bike plunged 40 feet off a cliff at Daill, Cape Wrath - the most north westerly point on mainland Britain. He is believed to have been tending to sheep at the time. A passer-by noticed the bike on a beach below the cliff and raised the alarm. He was airlifted from this very remote area by Stornoway Coastguard search and rescue helicopter to Inverness but was pronounced dead at the hospital.

SAYFC Training initiative

A welcome and timely initiative has just been announced in Scotland. ATV Services Scotland Ltd have entered into a unique partnership to sponsor the Scottish Association of Young Farmers’ Clubs (SAYFC) to incorporate ATV competitions into their events, to see if Young Farmers have the skills to handle quad bikes safely and efficiently. It will also be an opportunity for SAYFC members to try riding ATVs at these events, under the guidance of an experienced team of stewards.

This specialist ATV and utility vehicle supplier will be supporting four SAYFC Rallies:

  • Ayrshire (21st May)
  • Highland (28th May)
  • Grampian (11th June) and
  • East Rally (9th July).

They are also supporting the Association's competitions at the Ayr Show on 14th May.  Read more about this initiative in ‘Service Dealers’ e-Bulletin.


HSE reminds users that whilst ATV’s are designed to cope with a wide variety of terrains, if they are poorly maintained, used outside their safe operating parameters, or carelessly driven, then they can very rapidly become unstable.

It is essential that:

  • the driver is properly trained
  • the driver wears a helmet
  • the ATV is well maintained and routinely checked (especially tyre pressures, brakes and throttle)
  • routes are properly planned, and
  • if possible, new routes should be walked and hazards identified before the route is ridden.

Further guidance on safe use of ATV’s - Quad bikes and side-by-side utility vehicles - including AIS 33 ‘Safe use of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) in agriculture and forestry’ is available via HSE’s ATV page.

Don’t forget case studies and short films related to ATV and other transport incidents are still available on HSE’s ‘Make The Promise’.

Suitable training is obviously also available through Lantra, many local Training Groups and Agricultural Colleges. The Lantra website includes a useful summary of essential elements of training for sit-in ATVs.

HSE Northern Ireland’s (HSENI) also provides useful guidance and links to other relevant websites on training, including: