The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) and the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) called for a five-star safety rating system to be applied to quad bikes.
Speaking from Parliament House, Canberra NFF President, Ms Fiona Simson and RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee made the call in a bid to reduce the number of tragic quad bike injuries after a spate of deaths and serious injuries already.
The five-star safety rating, ideally applied voluntarily by manufacturers, would assist farmers and other consumers to make an informed buying decision when purchasing a quad bike.
Ms Simson said a well-designed, five-star rating system would address rollover risk.
“Rollovers are the leading contributor to death and serious injury in quad bike incidents.”
“Unlike with two-wheel motorbikes, it is not speed, but the stability of the vehicle that is the major contributor to the quad bike rollovers,” Ms Simson said.
Dr McPhee said rural doctors were at the coalface of quad bike injuries.
“In both 2015 and 2016 quad bikes accounted for the highest number of farm-related deaths overall. Since 2001, there have been 231 quad bike deaths across the country, with 43 of those fatalities being kids under the age of 16.
“As rural doctors, we see the devastation caused by the death or serious injury to the families and communities affected by on-farm incidents,” Dr McPhee said.
“Too many of these deaths are of children and as it stands not enough information is available to parents of the risks involved in operating a quad bike.”
Dr McPhee added there was no such thing as a ‘child-appropriate’ quad.
The NFF and RDAA are also proposing the same safety-rating system be applied to side-by-side vehicles (SSVs).
“Farmers are increasingly comparing quad bikes with SSVs,” Ms Simson said.
“A proactive, positive approach to formalising this comparison can only lead to better and more informed consumer choices as to which vehicle is most appropriate for their needs – from a safety and business perspective.
“It will also encourage manufacturers to develop safer, more stable quad bikes for the Australian market, with improved stability, dynamic handling and rollover protection.”
Ms Simson and Dr McPhee said enough was enough.
“We can’t keep delaying action on quad bike safety,” they told media at Parliament House.
“We owe it our rural and regional communities to create safer environments so that they can continue to grow our regions and play their part in a stronger national economy.