Safe Hands: Calls to ban kids from quads

Kidsafe call for legislation to protect kids from quad bikes

Machinery
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Kidsafe are lobbying for age-based laws to prevent kids getting on quads

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According to FarmSafe about 10 children are fatally injured on Australian farms each year and at least 500 are hospitalised for on-farm injury, with drowning and quad bikes considered the equal leading causes of on-farm deaths for children.

Research shows quads are the leading cause of death to children 5 to 14 years of age and for children who are visitors to farms.

While the recent recommendations made by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission focused on the safety of quad bikes as a product, leading industry groups writing submissions to support safety measures took the opportunity to also call for legislation banning children under the age of 16 from riding adult sized quad bikes.

Kidsafe executive officer Christine Erskine said while the legislation was complicated by the lack of current oversight by state based road and traffic authorities steps needed to be taken to legislate in favour of child safety.

Read more: Children and quads a toxic mix

"We are aware of the private property aspect, but we are also aware of the number of children that do get injured and tragically die as a result," she said.

"We certainly don't want to eliminate this type of vehicle but endeavour to work with stakeholders to make sure it is safe for everyone."

Kidsafe executive officer Christine Erskine

Kidsafe executive officer Christine Erskine

Kidsafe project manager road safety Vicki Milne said while manufacturers currently indicate children under the age of sixteen should not be on the adult sized quad bikes, it wasn't enough.

"There has been a lot of recommendations and a lot of work done trying to advocate safety for children on quad bikes but there are still fatalities," she said.

"Kidsafe supports a national consistent approach to legislation."

Ms Milne said the primary reason adult sized quad bikes were unsafe for use by children was a combination of the child's lack of weight and strength as well as issues with how they thought about and managed risk.

"In terms of cognitive skills, they won't be able to read the environment as well as an adult," she said.

"Physically they can't control the vehicle as well as adults can, they are a lot lighter.

"Also you will often find they have someone else on the quad bike with them and that makes it more unstable."

Kidsafe project manager road safety Vicki Milne

Kidsafe project manager road safety Vicki Milne

Quads not the only problem

Ms Milne said while she wasn't aware of research done on the safety aspects of side-by-side vehicles or sports model recreational terrain vehicles the best start was to look at the manufacturers recommendations.

The recommendations by manufacturers for the use of youth and transition models, is that they be used under adult supervision, " she said.

"It is very difficult to have adult supervision if they ride off, a kilometre down the road, or do they have a dedicated track on their property where the child can ride?"

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