Top 10 ATV safety tips

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There are many ways to reduce the chance of injury while riding quad bikes. There are many ways to reduce the chance of injury while riding quad bikes. There are many ways to reduce the chance of injury while riding quad bikes.

ATV and UTV (quad bike) accidents now account for the majority of serious injuries and fatalities that occur on Australian farms.


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If one of your workers is seriously injured or killed in an quad bike accident, you may be required to prove that the machine they were operating was safe and that staff had been properly trained in how to ride it safely.

Safety chart maker Pro-Visual Publishing ProVisual.com.au has listed some useful tips that may help reduce the chance of you or one of your workers having a quad bike accident while you’re out riding on the farm.

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 1. CONSIDER USING A LOWER CC BIKE

Although the power of the engine is not directly related to the likelihood of injury, there is no need to have a high-CC quad, especially if your farm is relatively flat or if you don’t need to travel a long distance in a short space of time.

2. STEEP TERRAIN REQUIRES VIGILANCE

If your farm is has a number of steep slopes that cannot be avoided, be mindful that the risk of roll-over is substantially higher. It can be a good idea to mark out agreed routes and make sure workers are aware of any high-risk, no-go zones.

3. SWITCH TO USING UTVS

While All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) are still more common, Utility Task Vehicles (UTVs) have a much lower chance of rolling. The Victorian Government is now offering rebates of up to $1200 to those who purchase UTVs. The ability to carry a passenger and more tools is an added bonus of going for a side-by-side (UTV).

4. DON’T OVERLOAD YOUR ATV

Make sure you know the weight and towing limit of your ATV. Towing attachments or carrying loads, particularly liquid loads, will affect both the stability and handling of the quad bike. Loads should be attached securely and sit at the lowest height possible.

5. FIT A ROLLOVER PROTECTION DEVICE

There are a number of crush and roll-over protection devices on the market that can be fitted to your ATV. The Victorian Government rebate is also available to those who fit an approved safety device, up to $600 each for up to two ATVs.

6. KEEP THE YOUNGTERS AWAY

All farm managers should know this, but children under-16 should never ride an adult-sized ATV. One in five fatal quad bike accidents involve children in Australia. Children should also never be carried on quad bikes, as the risk of them slipping off, or being crushed in the event of a roll-over, is high.

7. TAKE EXTRA CARE IN WET WEATHER

Another fairly obvious one, but the job has to be done rain or shine. Just be aware that mud and water run-off is likely to affect the stability and traction of your machine.

8. GET YOUR BIKE SERVICED

Unless you look after your ATV and have it serviced regularly, it’s unlikely to be reliable and may have some dangerous mechanical faults. In the case of an accident you may be asked to prove that your ATV has been well maintained.

9. MAKE SURE RIDERS CAN CALL FOR HELP

If you have good mobile signal on your land, then make sure your workers can reach you, and vice-versa. Some farmers go as far to ensure workers have UHF radios on them at all times, which is recommended if mobile coverage is patchy.

10. DON’T GET COMPLACENT

The majority of on-farm ATV accidents occur when the bikes are being used recreationally. Just because your staff aren’t working doesn’t mean the rules, or your legal obligations to keep them safe while on your land, don’t apply.

 

Bonus tip

And, of course, always wear an appropriate and properly fitting helmet when you are riding a quad bike.

Safe Work Australia advises that, when riding on a public road, you must wear a helmet that complies with AS/NZS 1698:2006: Protective helmets for vehicle users. These helmets meet requirements for both on-road and off-road use.

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