Fair Trading Minister Stuart Ayres has welcomed the launch of a national safety campaign to raise awareness on the dangers of quad bikes.
“NSW Fair Trading will work closely with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and other State and Territory consumer protection authorities to tackle this nationwide problem,” Mr Ayres said.
“There have been too many horrific accidents, many resulting in death, over the past few years and tragically many of these fatalities have involved children.
“Sadly, this year there have already been five quad bike-related deaths.
“The statistics are unacceptable and I am calling on all consumers in NSW who own quad bikes to join this campaign and learn more about how to protect themselves and their loved ones when riding these useful but potentially hazardous vehicles.”
Between 2011 and 2013 there were 60 reported deaths in Australia from quad bike accidents. One in six of these deaths involved children under 14 years of age.
Late last year the Medical Journal of Australia published a study that found children under 14 did not have the physical and cognitive abilities to operate quad bikes safely.
Consumer research commissioned by the ACCC last year surveyed 125 recreational quad bike users and found that unsafe practices were common.
The survey found one in six users rarely wore protective gear such as a helmet or sturdy footwear, while one-quarter of users had carried passengers on their quad bike, despite most of these vehicles being designed to carry one person only.
“Research has also shown that one in three quad bike riders are self-taught,” Mr Ayres said.
“The deceptive ease with which young people can operate these vehicles may have led to a certain amount of complacency when it comes to the safe use of quad bikes.
“Children do not belong on quad bikes, either as passengers or drivers. Please keep your children safe these school holidays and abide by basic safety guidelines when using a quad bike yourself.”
The ACCC has launched a YouTube video titled Would You Risk It? highlighting the life-threatening dangers of unsafe quad bike practices. The video is available on the ACCC Product Safety YouTube channel and at www.productsafety.gov.au/quadbikes.
The ACCC has also developed a set of safety tips for adults using quad bikes.
These include the following:
- 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
- Always wear a helmet
- Wear protective clothing and gear such as goggles, long sleeve shirts, long pants, boots and gloves/hand protection
- Do not carry any passengers on quad bikes that are meant for one person
- Ensure children are supervised at all times near any quad bike activity
- Don't let children be passengers on quad bikes
- Never let children ride quad bikes that are meant for adults - it's not worth the risk
- Avoid riding on rough terrain or steep slopes
- Never ride under the influence of alcohol/drugs
- Ride on familiar tracks and beware of obstacles