The recent tragic death of a young girl serves as a reminder that quad bikes are dangerous.
Contrary to popular belief, quad bikes are not a safe alternative to other vehicles, and children lack the physical and cognitive capacity to ride a quad bike safely.
Associate Professor Tony Lower, from the University of Sydney said there have been 116 quad bike deaths since 2010, with around 15% of these being children under sixteen years of age.
“Quad bikes of all sizes pose a serious risk of roll-over, and there is an important need for parents and caregivers to ensure that children do not ride them or be carried as passengers.
“Quad bikes are a major cause of death on Australian farms, with half of these fatalities involving the rollover of the vehicle. At least 23% of all deaths attributed to quad bike use feature a crush injury or asphyxiation” said Associate Professor Lower.
The Australian Injury Prevention Network (AIPN) and other peak bodies are advocating for the need to prevent children using quad bikes of any specification, for roll-over protection and helmet use to be mandated. Quad bike safety could also be enhanced by providing better information for consumers about the safety ratings of quads and related vehicles.
“This is an important mechanism to ensure safety of farmers, their families, workers and visitors who have a right to be protected” added Associate Professor Lower.
Dr Susan Adams, Paediatric Trauma Surgeon at the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network sees firsthand the devastation of families when their children are killed or seriously injured. “Quad bike injuries and deaths are preventable.
“As a trauma specialist, who works with families and children after these injuries occur, I cannot overemphasise the need for a focus on prevention – by families, government agencies and allied health professionals” said Dr Adams.
Professor Rebecca Ivers, President of the AIPN, stressed three key areas of injury prevention needed to be addressed to reduce the incidence of deaths and serious injuries from quad bike use.
“Catastrophic injuries and deaths, those that impact on a person’s life forever, can be prevented by ensuing no children get on quad bikes in the first place, that quad bikes for adults have roll-over protection and helmet use mandated” said Professor Ivers.
The AIPN position paper may be accessed here.