Quad bikes the leading cause of death on Australian farms in 2020

According to Safe Work Australia in 2019 a total of eight people were killed due to quad bikes, and 14 people have already died in 2020. Photo: Shutterstock.
According to Safe Work Australia in 2019 a total of eight people were killed due to quad bikes, and 14 people have already died in 2020. Photo: Shutterstock.

Quad bikes continue to be the leading cause of deaths on Australian farms, with 14 people already killed this year, nearly double last year's fatality total.

According to Safe Work Australia in 2019 a total of eight people were killed due to quad bikes.

The introduction of operator protection devices on quad bikes will help prevent serious injury or death to people if an accident was to occur, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has said.

The ACCC recently mandated the fitting of operator protective devices to all new quad bikes and directly imported second-hand quad bikes to come into effect by 2021.

ACCC spokesperson said quad bikes remain the single biggest killer on our farms.

Earlier this month it was reported that a 12-year-old boy died after a quad bike crash north of Alice Springs.

"An average of 15 people die per year while riding a quad bike and thousands more are injured," the ACCC spokesperson said.

"There have been 14 reported quad bike deaths so far this year. That's nearly double last year's total."

The ACCC spokesperson said quad bikes are inherently unstable and have a high risk of rolling over.

"Data from coronial reports, work health and safety and hospital data, show the majority of quad bike fatalities or injuries are due to crush injuries caused by the quad bike rolling over the rider or pinning them with enough force to cause asphyxiation," they said.

"The introduction of OPDs will help protect people by preventing the weight of the quad bike resting on them, by holding it off the ground and creating a survival space."

The spokesperson said quad bike OPDs have been available in Australia for around 15 years.

"There have been over 20,000 OPDs fitted to quad bikes in Australia and as far as we are aware there has not been a single death or serious injury caused by them," they said.

Honda, Yamaha and Polaris have all said they will stop selling quad bikes in Australia when the regulation comes into force in October 2021.

The ACCC spokesperson said while some manufacturers have indicated that they will cease supply in Australia, others have indicated that they are working towards meeting the standard as soon as practicable.

"When responding to a complex safety issue, it is possible that not all parties will be united on a resolution," the spokesperson said.

"The ACCC consulted extensively with a wide range of key stakeholders, carefully examined all submissions, and commissioned an independent expert to critically analyse the evidence, which resulted in the development a safety standard to protect Australians."