Quad bike fatalities on the rise

THE AUSTRALIAN Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has reiterated its stance that quad bikes are inherently dangerous.
Quad bike fatalities on the rise  Quad bike fatalities on the rise  Quad bike fatalities on the rise  Quad bike fatalities on the rise  Quad bike fatalities on the rise

A new safety standard for quad bikes will be introduced on 1 October.

Staff writer

In a statement released yesterday, ACCC deputy chair Mick Keogh said that for many years, manufacturers have been claiming rider behaviour is the major reason for the number of deaths and injuries.

"Their aim has been to shift the focus away from the unsafe design of quad bikes," Keogh said.

"The truth of the matter is, the inherent instability of quad bikes causes them to frequently roll over. It has been reported that at least eight of the fatalities so far this year involved rollovers, with four of them resulting in crush injuries," he said.

In the first six months of this year, 14 people, including three children, have died in quad bike-related accidents in Australia, compared to eight for the whole of last year. Seven of this year's fatalities have been in Queensland.

Quad bike accidents are the leading cause of death and severe injuries on Australian farms. Since 2011, 150 people have died from quad bike-related accidents, 23 of whom have been children.

In addition, six people present to hospital each day as a result of quad bike-related injuries.

The deaths and injuries are why the Australian Government has introduced a Quad Bike Safety Standard, the first stage of which takes effect on 11 October.

"Quad bikes are an important part of rural life but the ongoing fatalities and serious injuries are incredibly concerning. They highlight the importance of this new safety standard," Keogh said.

The ACCC noted research from the University of New South Wales which indicates that almost half of quad bike accidents involved riders who had 20 or more years of experience operating them, while less than two per cent of accidents involved an operator with less than three years' experience.

"As 11 October draws closer, misinformation and scare campaigns from groups opposed to the new safety standard have ramped up, and that's been very disappointing to see," Keogh said.

"Top of the list is the suggestion that because some quad bike manufacturers have threatened to stop selling in Australia due to the new safety requirements, farmers will lose a critical piece of farm machinery. If a manufacturer withdraws from Australia, others will willingly step in to provide the safer quad bikes.

"We've also heard nonsense claims that improved quad bike stability and rollover protection devices, as required under the safety standard, will increase fatalities as riders will have a false sense of security.

"If this argument was applied to the design of cars, none of the modern safety features would be available, and the nearly 70 per cent decline in road fatalities since the mid-1970s would not have occurred."

The ACCC has produced two new videos to help consumers and suppliers understand the new safety standard ahead of its introduction. A link to the videos is here: https://bit.ly/2YfuGCr