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Watchdog recommends new quad bike safety standard

Since 2011, 130 people have been killed in quad bike related accidents. On average six people per day are hospitalised with injuries relating to what are arguably a farm’s most popular piece of equipment.

The Australian Competition and Consumers Commission (ACCC) has been looking at ways to improve quad bike safety to save lives and prevent life-altering injuries.

In its final report to Government, released this week, the watchdog’s recommendations are a win for farm safety.

A central recommendation is for the introduction of a safety standard that mandates key information be available to consumers, relating to a bike’s stability and design specifications.

ACCC Agriculture Commissioner, Mick Keogh said he believed a mandatory safety standard was the best option to improve quad bike safety.

While it’s not the Five-Star Safety Rating System the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has been lobbying for for many years, it is certainly a step in the right direction according to NFF President Fiona Simson.

“Consumers deserve the right to safety information relevant to the quad bike they intend to buy and make informed decision about the safety of themselves, their families and workers.”

The report also highlights the need for a minimum stability standard and for operator protection devices to be made mandatory for general-use models.

These recommendations will reduce the risk of rollovers and significantly reducing the risk of death or serious injury.

“Quad bike accidents come at a cost to the economy of at least $200 million a year, not to mention the pain, suffering and associated expenses inflicted upon those affected, including friends and families of the victims,” Ms Simson said.

Under the recommendations, sport, youth and transition models would be exempt and a two year transition period was also recommended.

The report’s recommendations echo the NFF’s call for an overhaul of the regulations governing the popular farm vehicle’s manufacture and sale after a Queensland District Court ruled in the favour of an injured farm worker against his employer in January 2019.

The court stated that “quad bikes are a high risk machine requiring management if used on a rural property” and ordered the defendant to pay the plaintiff $400,000, which is a sum that could potentially cripple ones farming business.

According to the judge if the bike had of been fitted with rollover protection and a safety belt, the plaintiff would not have been injured.

Australians are invited to review and provide further comment on the recommended Safety Standard. Submissions close 10 June 2019.

For more information on quad bike and general farm safety CLICK HERE.

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