Watchdog recommends new quad bike five-star 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 a Five-Star Safety Rating System the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has been lobbying 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 are would be exempt and a two year transition period was also

The report’s recommendations echoes 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
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 was fitted with rollover
protection and a safety belt, the plaintiff would not have been injured.

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