Quad bikes are not toys

ACCC quad bike inquiry pushes for mandatory safety standards

Machinery
SAFETY: The ACCC has proposed major changes to improve the safety of quad bikes, including the introduction of mandatory crush and roll-over protection.

SAFETY: The ACCC has proposed major changes to improve the safety of quad bikes, including the introduction of mandatory crush and roll-over protection.

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The ACCC quad bike report pushes for mandatory safety standards.

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Following the tragic news two children were killed on the weekend while riding quad bikes, industry leaders are urging parents to take care over the Easter holidays and ensure the work vehicles are not treated as toys.

According to reports, the boys, aged 7 and 9 were allegedly victims of roll-overs while riding adult-sized quad bikes, also known as all-terrain-vehicles, in separate incidents occurring in Western Australia and Tasmania.

While tragic, these incidents are not uncommon, Safework Australia reported 10 per cent of quad bike fatalities between 2011 and 2018 were children under the age of sixteen,and in total 128 fatalities were recorded in this period, with at least another 7 having occurred this year.

Farmsafe Australia Chair and the National Farmers Federation Workplace Committee Chair, Charles Armstrong said children are considered particularly vulnerable on adult sized quad bikes as they do not have sufficient weight or strength to actively ride and control the bikes.

"No children under sixteen years of age should be on adult sized quad bikes," he said.

Mr Armstrong said with the Easter holidays beginning farmers and parents needed to take particular care both for their own children and those visiting family on farms this season.

"Quads are dangerous, and in many cases lethal, be as vigilant as you possibly can and don't allow children onto adult sized quad bikes, they are not toys."

Regulation

Last week, Australia's peak farming body, the NFF called for the Federal Government to implement a series of recommendations made by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, aimed at reducing the risk to quad bike operators through a series of product controls.

The report is the result of an ACCC led task force investigation, initiated in 2017, by the then Minister for Small Business, the Hon. Michael McCormack and Minister for Employment, the Hon. Michaelia Cash MP.

Released earlier this month, the report recommended the Federal Government implement a mandatory safety standard for quad bikes as well as the mandatory fitting of operator protection devices, which are more commonly known as crush protection or roll over protection devices.

Mandatory fitting of operator protection devices has been a contentious issue, with the peak body for the automotive industry challenging the recommendation.

The ACCC, through the Australian Consumer Law only has the legal framework to make recommendations to the Federal Government around safety standards.

Complimentary safety controls including the introduction of mandatory licensing, age limits, training requirements or requiring operators to wear protective clothing, including helmets, while recommended as a holistic approach in the ACCC report, are under the jurisdiction of individual state and territory laws.

NFF president Fiona Simson said the organisation welcomed the release of the ACCC's report including its recommendations for measures to establish a safety standard.

"Since 2011, about 130 people have been killed and on average six people each day are hospitalised in quad-bike related incidents," she said.

"This comes at a cost to the economy of at least $200 million per year, not to mention the pain, suffering and associated expenses inflicted upon those affected, including friends and families of victims."

Ms Simson said minimum stability standards and operator protection devices would minimise the risk of rollovers and significantly reduce the risk of death or serious injury if a rollover should occur.

Another secondary recommendation by the ACCC was the introduction of a 5 Star Safety Rating System.

Ms Simson said a system managed and administered independently from manufacturers would allow consumers to easily compare the relative safety of available quad-bike models.

"The NFF has long called for the introduction of a 5-Star Safety Rating System," she said.

"Consumers deserve the right to safety information relevant to the quad bike they intend to purchase to make informed decisions about the safety of themselves, their families and workers. The ACCC's recommendations would ensure that this is possible."

Ms Simson said the NFF was calling on Government to implement the ACCC's recommendations to save lives and prevent countless on-farm injuries.

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