Quad bike accidents are a prevailing threat on Australian farms.

SWA figures show 50 per cent of quad bike accidents are due to rollovers.

There were 104 deaths involving quad bikes between 2011 and 2016, according to Safe Work Australia (SWA) statistics. Of these, 69 occurred on a farm or property.

As such, farmers will no doubt welcome the news that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has launched a taskforce geared towards improving the safety of these vehicles.

The ACCC’s core focus will be exploring the value of a safety standard for quad bikes, which could include:

  • A national quad bike safety rating system; and/or
  • The prohibition of unsafe design features; and/or
  • Design mandates; and/or
  • Safety warnings or instructions at the point of sale.

Quad bike safety “urgent”

Minister for Employment Michaelia Cash, who announced the taskforce alongside Minister for Small Business Michael McCormack on October 24, said the number of quad bike-related deaths and injuries has made this an “urgent priority”.

“Quad bikes are important work vehicles for many people, particularly in rural and regional areas, but it is critical that these vehicles are made and used safely,” she explained.

Earlier this year, the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) and the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) called for a five-star safety system to be applied to quad bikes.

Canberra NFF President Fiona Simson said star ratings would help address rollover risks. SWA figures show 50 per cent of quad bike accidents are due to rollovers, with uneven or unstable terrain leading to nearly three-quarters of deaths.

“Unlike with two-wheel motorbikes, it is not speed, but the stability of the vehicle that is the major contributor to the quad bike rollovers,” Ms Simson explained.

NSW leading the way in quad bike safety

The announcement of the ACCC’s taskforce comes just one month after the NSW government revealed that its Quad Bike Safety Improvement Program had paid out $1 million in rebates.

“We’re committed to doing everything we can to reduce injuries on farms.”

The scheme enables farmers to apply for $2,000 towards the costs of new safety equipment and improvements to quad bikes and side-by-side vehicles. So far, 1,500 rebates have been issued.

In June, the NSW government also launched a research project aimed at reducing the high rate of injuries involving quad bikes on farms in the state. Researchers will investigate the attitudes and behaviours surrounding quad bike use in agricultural areas, with NSW Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair urging farmers to participate.

“We’re committed to doing everything we can to reduce injuries on farms and make sure landholders are fully equipped with both the knowledge and tools they need to operate quad bikes safely,” he stated.

Nevertheless, quad bike accidents pose a number of liability issues for farmers in Australia. If you’d like to discuss your farm insurance options with regards to these issues, please contact MGA Insurance today.