Quad bikes (four-wheeled motorbikes) can be fun and useful, but you should consider safety issues before riding them for recreation or work.
- On average, 15 people are killed each year in Australia while using quad bikes.
- About half the fatalities involve recreational use.
- Quad bikes are the leading cause of accidental death and injury on Australian farms.
- Each year, an estimated 1,000 people using quad bikes receive injuries requiring hospital treatment.
Understanding the danger
- are not all-terrain vehicles
- can easily roll over and cause fatal crush injuries, even when ridden by safety-conscious people
- pose a particular risk for children and older people.
Ways to prevent quad bike injuries and deaths
When considering using a quad bike, think carefully about whether it is a suitable vehicle for your needs.
To improve safety when using a quad bike you should:
- select a machine that has a low risk of rollover
- block off access to areas such as rough terrain or slopes
- install a tested rollover or crush protection device
- undertake a registered quad bike training course
- ride on familiar tracks and beware of obstacles
- always wear a helmet and ride at a safe speed.
- allow people aged under 16 to use quad bikes of any size
- carry passengers
- carry heavy loads or overload a quad bike. They become more unstable and may roll
- operate on rough terrain or slopes
- exceed towing limits
- operate a quad bike while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Mandatory safety standard for quad bikes
The Consumer Goods (Quad Bikes) Safety Standard 2019 came into effect on 11 October 2019. Suppliers must comply with this safety standard when they sell you a new quad bike.
The standard specifies:
- requirements for all quad bikes supplied from 11 October 2020
- additional requirements for general use quad bikes supplied from 11 October 2021.
The standard does not apply to second-hand quad bikes, other than second-hand quad bikes that are imported into Australia.
What to look for when purchasing
From 11 October 2020, all quad bikes must:
- have a hang tag that allows you to compare the stability of models before you buy
- have a permanent warning label that alerts users to the risk of rollover
- have safety information in the owner’s manual about the risk of rollover
- meet certain requirements in the USA or European standards for quad bikes.
From 11 October 2021, general use quad bikes must also:
- have an operator protection device (OPD) attached to help protect riders from serious injury or fatality in the event of a rollover
- meet minimum stability requirements.
Check the hang tag to compare stability
The hang tag will tell you the minimum angle at which the quad bike tipped sideways onto two wheels when it was tested by the manufacturer. Quad bikes with higher numbers are more stable.
The hang tag will help you compare the stability of different models within a particular category of quad bike. For example, if you are looking for a youth quad bike, you can compare the stability of different models of youth quad bikes.
You should not use the hang tag to compare across categories (for example, to compare a youth quad bike with a general use quad bike) as the stability tests are different.
For more information about the mandatory safety standard for quad bikes, visit Quad bikes - Product Safety Australia.
For more information about using quad bikes in a workplace, visit Quad bikes - WorkSafe Victoria.
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