Quad bikes are not toys

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  
 Spraying  Elderly rider  
 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    
 Hard surfaces    
 Soft or muddy    

[ table, using Safework data.]

Cultural change

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.

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