Farmers welcome quad bike inquest findings

NSW Farmers has welcomed a number of recommendations handed down at a coronial inquest into quad bike related deaths.

The association’s Industrial Relations Chair, Richard Chamen, said: “While quad bikes are an important vehicle on farms, we recognise that steps need to be taken to improve quad safety and raise awareness about their danger in order to curb injuries and deaths.” 

“This year alone we have had 19 quad bike related fatalities – three of them in NSW. Contrary to its name, a quad bike is not suitable for all-terrains,” Mr Chamen said.  

The coroner investigated the circumstances surrounding nine deaths which occurred on farms or in rural areas between 2009 and 2014 and considered four additional quad bike related deaths in the same period. 

Eight recommendations were made including the establishment of a safety star rating scheme, the creation of an Australian Standard for quad bikes and side-by-side vehicles, helmets, rider’s training, use of seatbelts in side-by-side vehicles and no under 16 riders on adult sized quad bikes.

Mr Chamen urged all relevant parties, including regulators, manufacturers, dealers and industry bodies to urgently prioritise the establishment of a robust safety star ratings scheme for quad bikes and side-by-side vehicles.

“A safety rating system will empower consumers to make better purchasing decisions which in turn will drive design improvements,” he said.

“It’s unfortunate that the coroner’s findings did not clarify the usefulness of crush protection devices on quad bikes when a significant proportion of fatalities involved roll-over incidents.

“Quad bike is a very useful and convenient piece of equipment on farms. The fact that it has four wheels and is easy to start gives riders a false sense of security.

“However the high number of quad related fatalities and major traumas indicate that a quad bike can quickly turn lethal if it is not driven properly by an experienced driver.  

“Raising awareness and an educational campaign about the risks of quad bikes should be the focus of the regulator following the coroner’s recommendations.

“Any legislative change will need to be well considered to ensure that it is practically workable on farm. We are not convinced that threatening criminal liability will be effective in securing safety improvements on farms.

“NSW Farmers is committed to working with regulators and interested parties to improve safety on farm. At the end of the day, we all want the same outcome - for farmers and workers and their family members to be safe living and working on farms,” Mr Chamen concluded. 

27 November 2015

Contact: Gracia Kusuma

Phone: 1300 794 000

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