Quad bikes are 4-wheeled motorcycles which require the user to shift their body weight while riding the vehicle. People do not need a licence to ride them. While quad bikes are mainly intended for farm use, they have become popular for sports and recreation. They range in power from 49cc to 1000cc at a cost of $699-$22,099.
Image source: Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety (2008) Factsheet: Farm vehicles, 2 and 4 wheeled motorbikes. Available from: http://www.aghealth.org.au/index.php?id=5040
Quad bikes are not designed to carry passengers as they add weight to the vehicle, make it harder to control and make them more likely to tip over. Quad bikes are prone to tipping and rolling when moving at speed or up hills.
Injuries occur in a variety of settings (e.g. at home, on farms and in recreational areas). Most injuries or deaths are caused from driving uphill or at speed, causing the vehicle to roll over. Other causes include driver inexperience, carrying passengers on the quad bike, a lack of protective equipment, falls from the vehicle or collision with another object.
Quad bikes are a major cause of death and serious injury to children on Australian farms.
Between 1999 and 2015, there were 90 children admitted to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead as a result of injuries from quad bikes. Of these children;
There were six deaths from quad bikes among children between 2003 and 2012 in NSW. Of these deaths;
Research shows that the use of helmets reduces the risk of death by 42%.
There are no standards in Australia for the import or use of quad bikes. The FCAI (Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries) Members (the peak body for the Automotive Industry in Australia) have voluntarily adopted the USA ANSI/SVIA – 1 2010 Standard which is mandatory in America. This standard requires the vehicles to carry a prominent, relevant age warning, as displayed below.
Manufactures all advise against children aged 0-16yrs being on an adult size quad bike.
Children have also sustained injuries on child sized quad bikes and there is no evidence that they are safe.
Quad bikes should not be used by any child under the age of 16 (as a driver OR passenger). Children do not have the skills and judgment needed, to handle a powered vehicle.
Children aged 16 years and older should consider whether a quad bike is an appropriate vehicle for the job being undertaken. If they still chose to use a quad bike, they should: