As school holidays loom, parents in rural areas have been urged to ensure their kids stay safe if they’re using quad bikes in their free time.
Queensland Safety Ambassador Shane Webcke said there were some simple and highly effective rules for parents and children to follow before jumping on a quad bike.
“Kids obviously have time for lots of outside activities over the break and riding quad bikes is right up there.
“But the sobering fact is that quad bike-related injury and fatality statistics peak during school holidays.
“Some of the tragedies we have seen in the past involved children riding full size bikes which they had no chance of controlling, and frustratingly, half were not even wearing a helmet,” Shane said.
“There is no denying that quad bikes are a useful tool on farms, but they are not toys and must be respected as they come with inherent risks.
“It’s just an absolute tragedy when a few basic safety rules are overlooked and the unthinkable happens.”
Shane said children should ride only quad bikes suiting their size and weight, always wear a helmet, and get proper training before they ride. Recent changes to road rules also mean it is illegal to ride quads on a public road without wearing a helmet, and to carry a passenger younger than eight, or too small to reach the footrests or handrails.
Statistics from Safe Work Australia confirmed the dangers posed to adults and children from quad bike use if precautions were not taken:
- children under 16 were involved in 14 per cent of 128 reported fatal incidents
- helmets were not worn in 58 per cent of fatalities and in 33 per cent it was unknown if a helmet was worn
- none of the 128 fatalities mentioned any form of rollover protection fitted to the bike
- 49 per cent of the fatalities occurred while the person was not working.
“New national standards are being phased in to reduce the risks associated with quad bikes,” he said.
“Phase two of the safety standard begins on 11 October and requires all new and imported second-hand general use quad bikes to be fitted with an operator protection device or have one integrated into their design - and to meet minimum requirements for stability.
“It is encouraging that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission recently found 84 per cent of quad bikes on sale were compliant with the first stage of the safety standard that came into force last year. But let’s get that up to 100 per cent.”
The Queensland Government is helping spread the quad safety message through Safety Advocates Jodie and Mario Cocco.
A social media campaign highlighting the call for safety these holidays will feature their son Domenic, who suffered life-threatening injuries after crashing a quad bike at seven years old when he was not wearing a helmet. Dom recovered but Jodie and Mario know just how close they came to losing their son and they are passionate about getting this message to other parents.
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