Wait for safer quad bikes

‘Panic-buying’ is a term we’d usually associate with grocery shopping in 2020, however there are suggestions it may be happening in the quad-bike industry currently on the eve of new safety regulations.

We have been concerned to hear reports that some quad bike dealerships are running low on stock as farmers and other consumers rush to buy-up current models that do not meet the important new mandatory safety standard coming into effect later this year.

This behaviour has been attributed to news that some manufacturers are pulling out of the Australian market ahead of the tighter regulations, however other suppliers have confirmed they will meet the standard ahead of schedule and will be selling safer bikes sooner.

It’s important to remember that quad bikes are dangerous. From 2011 to 2018, there were at least 128 deaths involving these popular farm vehicles, with around 15 per cent of those casualties involving children.

Despite being responsible for more fatalities than motorbikes and more injuries than tractors, quad bikes have not ever been subject to a safety standard before.

That will all change on October 11 2020 when all new and imported quad bikes are required to meet US and European standards, be tested for stability, come with a tag that allows you to compare the safety of models prior to purchase, and warn of the rollover risks in a clearly displayed label on the bike and in the owner’s manual.

Based on current evidence, the highest cause of fatalities involving quad bikes is when vehicles roll over sideways and pin the operator to the ground or against an obstacle, causing crush injuries or asphyxiation.

Safety regulations will further tighten next year, when from October 11 2021 onwards all quad bikes sold are required to meet minimum stability requirements and be fitted with an operator protection device (OPD) to protect riders in the event of a rollover.

Given we have long been warning of dangers associated with the use of quad bikes, these regulations are welcome news – as we believe they will go a long way to reducing the high rates of serious injury and death.

Accidents are common and can happen easily, so our advice is for consumers to purchase products that meet the safety standards or start fitting OPDs now.

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