This year, five people have tragically died in quad bike accidents. Quad bikes or ATVs (all terrain vehicles) are often used on farms and not usually registered for sealed roads. Unfortunately, people use them in unintended ways or are too young or unfit to ride them safely. No wonder the NSW government wants to stop this worrying trend.
Deaths and injuries
Did you know around a dozen Australians die each year? Consequently, quad bikes are the biggest killers of Australian workers:
- 200 quad-bike related deaths in Australia since 2001
- 64% deaths on farms
- 1,400 people each year seriously injured.
What to do
First, SafeWork NSW offers free training courses and helmets and $1,000 rebates each towards operator protective devices and purchase of safer vehicles. As part of a $2 million campaign, regional TV ads show just how unsafe quad bike riding affects people’s lives.
Second, Safework’s Farm vehicle pre-purchase checklist helps farmers find the right vehicle for the job, comparing:
- Two wheeled farm bike
- Side-by-side ute
- Ute or 4WD
- Small truck
- Small farm tractor
- Quad bike.
Time to use a quad bike
|Appropriate||Caution/may not be safest
||Could be/consider alternatives|
|Inspecting farm/stock||Sealed roads (check rego)||Steep uneven terrain|
|Mustering stock||Inexperienced rider or children|
|Maintenance work||Carrying bulky loads or stock|
|Carrying light tools and up to 2 dogs||Carrying heavy, high or unsecured loads|
|Carrying light, low or secured loads||Carrying passengers|
|Towing narrow or small trailer||Towing wide or heavy trailer|
|Flat or gentle slopes|
|Soft or muddy|
[greenslips.com.au table, using Safework data.]
For too long, riders were treating quad bikes like toys. No wonder NSW Innovation and Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean recently called for a “cultural change” among farmers about using quad bikes safely. If a few more lives are saved, it will be a welcome shift.