January 7, 2012
Between 2001 and 2010, there was an average of 13 quad bike deaths per year. In 2011, this increased to 23 deaths and tragically in the first five months of 2012, 8 people have already died on quad bikes. “Quad bikes are now the leading cause of deaths on farms, outranking tractors by a ratio of almost 2:1, with half of these deaths being the result of the machines rolling over. Too many people are being asphyxiated or crushed to death” said Lin Morris, farmer from Weetulta, South Australia and Chairman of Farmsafe Australia. ?Key Facts ? Deaths on quad bikes 2001?10 ? Total number of deaths = 127 ? Rollovers were responsible for 46% of the deaths ? Overall 89% of rollover deaths occurred on a farm ? Children account for 19% of these deaths. NO CHILD under 16 years should ride a quad bike of any size as they do not have the physical size, strength, coordination and emotional maturity to handle such a dangerous piece of equipment. “Quad bikes have an illusion of stability and people often think that four wheels are safer than two wheels. This is simply not the case. Because of their instability, quad bikes are often not the best or safest vehicle for the jobs that need to be undertaken on the farm.” stated Lin. “In many cases a small ute, side by side vehicle or two wheel motorbike will be a better alternative and while these carry their own risks, we know they are lower than that of quad bikes. In fact many farmers have moved away from using quad bikes at all because the risk of rollover is too high.” If using a quad, a key to reducing the number of deaths from rollovers is fitting a suitably tested crush protection device (CPD). These devices will limit people being crushed by quad bikes when they do rollover and have been recommended by all state Work Health Authorities in the Trans?Tasman quad bike safety strategy. The CPDs are lightweight (8kg), can be fitted to most bike models through a simple tow ball fitting, don’t interfere with normal safe riding practices, nor hamper getting on or off the quad. “Fitting these devices will save lives and prevent many serious injuries in the event of a rollover. Whether riders have lots of experience or are novices, crush protection devices make quads safer.“ “The impact of deaths and serious injuries from quad bikes is significant and I am sure everyone would like to see a decrease in these. Based on current evidence we reinforce the message that all owners and operators of quad bikes should take steps to protect riders in the event of a rollover by fitting a crush protection device, keeping children under 16 off quads of all sizes, never carrying passengers, ensuring training / supervision, working within load limits and wearing a helmet.” Further information on quad bike safety can be obtained from the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety (02 6752 8210) or by visiting the website www.aghealth.org.au.