Alarmingly, the summer holiday season is one of the most common times for quad bike deaths in Australia.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is warning people to be fully prepared with quad bikes, wear protective gear and ride safe.
Tragically, there have been ten deaths this year from quad bike accidents and five in the last several weeks, including a 17 year old boy in Western Australia in late November.
At least 124 Australians have died since 2011 from quad bike accidents and approximately six people present to an emergency department every day with injuries. A third of these are being admitted to hospital for serious injuries that may last a lifetime.
Many consumers expect that quad bikes can safely go on all kinds of terrain and surfaces. Unfortunately, this isn’t true – riding on steep slopes, rough terrain and even hard, flat surfaces (such as tarmac and asphalt) may cause the quad bike to become unstable and very dangerous.
Children must never ride quad bikes intended for adults – either as drivers or passengers. Children account for nearly 15 per cent of all recorded deaths and are estimated to be a third of all emergency department presentations.
Quad bikes can be risky even for experienced, adult riders. Children simply do not have the physical or cognitive capacity to safely operate a quad bike.
Information on quad bike safety is available in this video:
The ACCC is urging people to follow these three key safety tips to keep children safe:
- never let children ride quad bikes that are meant for adults – it’s not worth the risk
- never let children be passengers on quad bikes
- do not ride anywhere near children.
Before getting on a quad bike, you must consider its condition, how much training you’ve had and whether you’re wearing enough protective gear.
- 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 recommended use of the vehicle.
- Before you leave for a quad bike ride, always tell someone where you plan to go and when you expect to return.
- Always wear a helmet.
- Wear protective gear such as goggles, long sleeves, long pants, boots and gloves.
- Never let children 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 terrain, steep slopes or hard, flat surfaces (such as tarmac and asphalt).
- Ride on familiar tracks and beware of obstacles.
- Never ride under the influence of alcohol or 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.