Quad bike deaths prompt warning of dangers
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Three quad bike deaths in Western Australia so far this year have prompted a joint warning from Consumer Protection and WorkSafe about the dangers of these off-road vehicles.
Details of this year’s fatalities, according to Safe Work Australia, include:
- 6 year old boy dies in a rollover on a farming property near Southern Cross on 20 April 2015
- 67 year old man dies in a collision while working on a farming property near Bruce Rock on 27 April 2015
- Man in his 40’s dies in a collision in sand dunes near Lancelin on 3 August 2015
There were 15 deaths from quad bike accidents in Australia last year, although none occurred in WA. Nationally, a total of 213 deaths have been reported between January 2001 and July 2015 and include fatalities occurring during recreational and work use.
Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe has warned that, with school holidays coming up, parents should be made aware of the dangers of these vehicles, particularly when operated by children and teenagers.
“Quad biking is a popular pastime for West Australians young and old and, while most people think it’s just a bit of fun, accidents can have tragic consequences with serious injuries and deaths occurring throughout Australia on a regular basis,” Mr Newcombe said.
“Children under the age of 14 are at greatest risk, so the warning we want to drive home is that children under 16 must never ride quad bikes intended for adults – either as drivers or passengers. Quad bikes can be risky even for experienced adult riders, but children don’t have the physical or cognitive capacity to operate these vehicles safely.
“A quad bike can be a useful and enjoyable piece of equipment but it can quickly turn into a death trap when used incorrectly.”
WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch said quad bikes are now the leading cause of fatal accidents on farms in Australia.
“Quad bike-related deaths are associated with a wide range of work activities in agriculture and horticulture,” Mr McCulloch said.
“Quad bikes can readily roll over and cause serious injury or death to operators, particularly when used on uneven terrain, at high speed or when carrying heavy or uneven loads. Accidents can also happen when the tyres are under-inflated or inflated unevenly.
“Many of the deaths and injuries are caused by crushing between the quad bike and the ground or other surface, while others occur when operators are flung onto hard surfaces in a crash.
“We urge quad bike operators to educate themselves about the safe operation of these vehicles before using them, and to follow the advice we have issued and which is widely available online.”
Quad bike owners should follow these key tips:
- Ensure you are properly trained before you ride a quad bike.
- Maintain the bike so it is in safe condition.
- Read the operator manual and observe the manufacturer's safety warnings and recommendations for use.
- Always tell someone of your expected location before leaving for a quad bike ride.
- Always wear a motor cycle helmet.
- Wear protective clothing and gear such as goggles, long sleeves, long pants, boots and gloves/hand protection.
- Never let children under 16 ride quad bikes that are meant for adults – even as passengers.
- Do not carry any passengers on quad bikes that are meant for one person.
- Quad bikes are not all-terrain vehicles so they cannot go safely on all types of terrain. Avoid riding on rough surfaces or steep slopes.
- Ride on familiar tracks and beware of obstacles.
- Never ride under the influence of alcohol/drugs.
- Ensure children are supervised at all times near any quad bike activity.
- Always carry a mobile phone or radio device so you can contact help in case of an emergency.
Parents and users are urged to access information and view a video on the safe operation of quad bikes at www.productsafety.gov.au and further information is available at www.worksafe.wa.gov.au. Enquiries can be made with Consumer Protection on 1300 30 40 54 or firstname.lastname@example.org or WorkSafe on 1300 307 877.
Alan Hynd – Consumer Protection Caroline De Vaney – WorkSafe
(08) 6552 9248 or 0429 078 791 (08) 6251 2363 or 0408 927 563
Useful references and downloads
- Video - Quad bikes: Prepare safe, wear safe, ride safe
- A handbook for workplaces - Quad bikes on farms
- Quad bike safety - What you need to know (Brochure)
- Quad bike safety - What you need to know (Poster)
- Farm vehicle pre-purchase checklist – choosing the right vehicle for the job
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