SINCE 2011, 136 people have died as a result of quad bike accidents, while thousands more have been seriously injured.
In October, the Federal Government announced new, mandatory safety standards for quad bikes, including the compulsory fitting of rollover protection devices (see Grain Central story).
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which recommended the introduction of tougher safety standards, is urging people to be vigilant about safety when using quad bikes and side-by-side vehicles (SSV) this summer.
“The summer holidays are one of the most common times for quad bike and SSV deaths in Australia, so it is important to remember to ride safely,” ACCC deputy chair Mick Keogh said.
“Make sure you are properly trained, wear the appropriate safety gear, and never ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
“It’s also a good idea to tell someone where you’re going and when you plan to return.”
Mr Keogh said the ACCC was also encouraging everyone to act now and install an operator protection device to make their quad bikes safer.
He said an operator protection device, also known as a crush protection device, helped protect the rider from serious crush injuries or asphyxiation by creating a crawl out space when the quad bike was overturned.
There has also been an increase in incidents involving side-by-side vehicles, with seven deaths reported so far this year.
“We have seen a significant increase in fatalities associated with the use of SSVs because people are not wearing the seat belts that are installed in the vehicle,” Mr Keogh said.
“Even more disturbing is that 40 per cent of these deaths have been children, with the youngest a three-year-old boy.
“Please do not be complacent about your safety and those of your loved ones. Our message is clear – wear a seatbelt every time you get into an SSV.”
Mr Keogh said SSVs were often touted as a safer alternative vehicle to quad bikes because they are more stable, have seat belts and a roll cage.
“The purpose of the roll cage is to create a survival space in the event of a rollover or collision, but when people do not wear a seat belt, they are ejected from the survival space and risk serious injury or death,” he said.
“Many people expect that quad bikes and SSVs are stable and can safely go on all kinds of terrain and surfaces. However, riding on steep slopes, rough terrain and even hard, flat surfaces such as tarmac and asphalt may cause these vehicles to become unstable and very dangerous.”
Key safety tips:
- Ensure you are properly trained
- Maintain the vehicle so it is in safe condition
- Install an operator protection device on your quad bike
- Read the operator manual and observe the manufacturer’s safety warnings and recommended use of the vehicle
- Before you leave for a ride or for work, always tell someone where you plan to go and when you expect to return
- Always wear a helmet
- Wear protective gear such as goggles, long sleeves, long pants, boots and gloves
- Never let children ride quad bikes or SSVs that are meant for adults
- Do not carry any passengers on quad bikes that are meant for one person
- Do not carry any passengers in the rear tray of a SSV
- Use a seatbelt in an SSV
- Quad bikes and SSVs are not all-terrain vehicles so they cannot go safely on all types of terrain. Avoid riding on rough terrain, steep slopes or hard, flat surfaces (such as tarmac and asphalt)
- Ride on familiar tracks and beware of obstacles
- Never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Ensure children are supervised at all times near any quad bike or SSV activity
- Always carry a mobile phone or radio device so you can contact help in case of an emergency