In 2015, for the fifth straight year in a row, quad bikes were the leading cause of death on Australian farms. Sixty-nine people died on farms last year — 15 of those deaths were related to quad bikes. Dozens more were left with lifelong injuries as a result of quad bike accidents.
While these bikes have become useful modern-day workhorses for many farmers, they are also, clearly, dangerous vehicles that need to be used with caution. Here are some top tips to ensure you’re using your quad bike as safely as possible:
THINK BEFORE YOU BUY
Before buying a quad bike, ask yourself whether it’s actually the appropriate tool for the job. How proficient are you and your family or workers at handling this kind of vehicle? What sort of terrain do you have? What jobs do you actually plan to do with it? Would you be better off using something more stable, like a ute?
CHOOSE WHO GETS TO USE
Limit the potential for accidents by limiting who gets to use the quad bike to individuals who have been fully trained. While kids are bound to want a go, it’s not safe for them to use a quad bike unsupervised — and its safest not to allow them to use it at all if they haven’t received proper training. Children are also particularly at risk when riding an adult-sized vehicle.
Like any expensive piece of farm equipment, it’s important to be trained to use a quad bike before taking it out into the paddock. There are plenty of accredited training courses available all over Australia.
WEAR PROTECTIVE GEAR
A helmet, sturdy boots (not thongs!), riding gloves and clothes that cover your arms and legs will help to protect you in the event of an accident.
CHOOSE WHERE TO RIDE
Not all terrain is safe, especially on an unstable bike like a quad. Slopes, rough surfaces, loose sand or anywhere the bike could become unbalanced should be avoided. Similarly, if you are carrying a load, make sure the weight is balanced across the vehicle to help avoid a rollover. Keep to familiar paths and tracks.
INSTALL ROLLOVER BARS
Rollovers can and do happen, so install rollover bars and crush protection devices to give yourself the best chance of survival in a rollover situation.
KEEP UP YOUR MAINTENANCE
Follow your quad bike’s maintenance instructions and keep it serviced to help keep yourself safe.
KEEP IN CONTACT
If you’re out on your quad, let someone know whereabouts you are on your property. Or, even better, have a means of getting in touch with someone, like a phone or two-way, just in case something goes wrong.
|59% of quad bike accidents are on agricultural properties|
|Three of the fatalities in 2015 involved containers attached to vehicles that were riding on an inclined surface|
|6% of those killed were children under the age of 16|
|12% of the quad bike fatalities in 2015 were rollovers|
|Two of the fatalities in 2015 were children aged six and seven|
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