Standard will deliver: Keogh

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With all new and imported second hand quad bikes sold in Australia now having to meet the first stage of the government’s mandatory safety standard, ACCC deputy chair Mick Keogh says that these recommendations are the best way to improve quad bike safety

Standard will deliver: Keogh
The ACCC says that the new standard is the most effective way of reducing the risk of death and injury from quad bikes accidents


Speaking at the Farmsafe Virtual Conference held in November, Mick Keogh said that this new standard was developed in an effort to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries caused by quad bikes.

With 149 deaths related to quad bikes between 2011 and 2020, 17 in this year alone, Keogh pointed out that "two thirds involved rollovers", most of the deaths and serious accidents were on farms, and "a significant number involved children under 16 on adult-sized quad bikes".

"There is quite a terrible amount of damage being done by quad bikes; though we recognise how useful they are as well," Keogh said.

"One of the things that really struck us about quad bike safety is that the profile in age terms of those killed or injured by quad bikes is distinctly different from what we see, for example, in motor vehicles.

"So, in motor vehicles, it’s the 17 to 25-year-old age group, which are perhaps the more inexperienced and reckless drivers, [who are more likely to be involved in an accident]. In relation to quad bikes, it’s the opposite. It’s the 46 to 70-year-olds that represent most of the fatalities.

"What that tells us is that it’s not the riders and their recklessness or inexperience that is causing the problem. It is the inherent unsafe nature of the vehicle, not the ability of the rider, and that is very important with regards to the outcome of our work."

The new standard for the sale of quad bikes in Australia comes in two parts. The first came into effect in October 2020 and the second stage will come into effect in October 2021, which will see quad bikes having to be fitted with, or have incorporated into the design, an operator protection device (OPD) and meet a minimum lateral stability standard of 29 degrees.

"Particularly at low speeds, OPDs are likely to be a significant factor in improving the safety of these vehicles," said Keogh.

"What we’re recommending isn’t anything new. A lot of farmers, concerned about the safety of quad bikes, have already moved to improve their safety – for example by applying rollover protection devices.

"We came to the conclusion that the rollover protection and the stability test were the two critical measures that were needed to improve quad bike safety and reduce that terrible harm that’s been occurring on Australian farms for quite some time."

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