Quad bikes have a number of inherent design characteristics that create risks for users, particularly when used on uneven or sloped ground. Losing control of a quad bike can cause it to flip or roll over causing serious injury or death.
A quad bike is a four wheeled vehicle that travels on low pressure tyres with handle bars for steering control and a seat that is straddled by the user. Quad bikes are used widely across Australia for both agricultural and recreational purposes.
There are estimated to be around 190 000 quad bikes in operation around Australia.
Quad bikes are one of the leading causes of death and serious injury on Australian farms. Since 2001, more than 230 deaths have occurred involving quad bikes in Australia. More than half of all quad bike deaths are because of rollovers. The main causes of death by rollovers are asphyxiation, crush and head injuries.
The risk of a rollover increases if the quad bike is travelling on uneven ground or slopes, travelling at high speed, towing an attachment or carrying a heavy or unstable load.
Risks of a serious incident are also increased when operators:
- are inexperienced
- carry passengers
- do not have the physical strength to ride actively
- are under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- are not wearing suitable personal protective equipment such as a helmet.
Children are at greater risk of serious injury and death while operating quads. Adult sized quad bikes should not be operated by children. Even the smaller youth quads have been involved in fatal incidents in Australia.
Quad bike accidents are common and can happen very easily, so always take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and children.
Follow these safety steps when using quad bikes to help you, your loved ones, friends and work colleagues stay safe.
- Decide is a quad bike is the right vehicle for the activity.
- 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 clothing and gear such as goggles, long sleeves, long pants, boots and gloves/hand protection.
- 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 or steep slopes.
- Ride on familiar tracks and beware of obstacles.
- Never ride under the influence of alcohol/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 for help in case of an emergency.
Watch these videos to see some of the potential dangers quad bikes can pose.