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Gardeners braced for new insurance levy

Ardagh-based gardener Brendan Farrell believes that an EU plan to enforce motor insurance for ride-on lawnmowers could be valuable in terms of generating safety awareness. Photo: Shelley Corcoran

Ardagh-based gardener Brendan Farrell believes that an EU plan to enforce motor insurance for ride-on lawnmowers could be valuable in terms of generating safety awareness. Photo: Shelley Corcoran

A European Union plan to enforce motor insurance for ride-on lawnmowers could raise much needed safety awareness about their dangers.

Gardener Brendan Farrell said suggestions of insurance , rumoured to be around the €125 mark, may help focus people’s minds when getting behind the wheel of the high-powered machines.

“It’s something I think which can be very valuable because there are some who tend to use them (ride-on’s) in a very relaxed manner,” he said.

Talk of the insurance plan surfaced last week, speculation which has sparked mixed reaction from industry experts.

Much of that debate has centred on the estimated €125, a bill that some people in the sector believe is a deliberate attempt to generate additional revenue. But Brendan Farrell said even after the best part of three decades in the business, he still harbours unease at the mere thought of using ride-on lawnmowers.

He issued caution about the the inclination of some owners to allow young children to oversee the machines at work.

“I remember a time when one of my own daughters had her foot on its accelerator I had difficulty putting my foot back on it. Children tend to run over to see what Daddy may be doing, but the blades on these machines absolutely fly,” he warned.

Mr Farrell’s comments come as EU officials consider a blanket roll-out of the new insurance .

EU officials dealing with the case claim motor insurance should cover all mechanically-propelled vehicles. This includes vehicles driven on roads or private property, including machines such as ride-on lawnmowers.

For Mr Farrell, the possibility of a blanket insurance demand being placed on owners is something he would not raise objections to.

“They are very powerful machines and when something does go wrong, they can go seriously wrong,” he said.

 

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