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Quad bikes and side-by-side vehicles

Quad bikes and side-by-side vehicles are popular due to their adaptability, ease of operation and low running costs. They are often used by farmers, producers, local and state governments, search and rescue teams, and adventure tourism operators.

The unsafe use of quad bikes is a significant contributor to deaths and serious injuries at Queensland workplaces. More than 50 Queenslanders have been killed using quad bikes since 2011.

Quad bikes are to be operated safely in all situations.

The Work Health and Safety (Quad Bikes) Amendment Regulation 2024 commenced on 21 March 2024 and introduced mandatory safety measures for quad bike operators in the workplace. Penalties apply for non-compliance.

A person conducting a business or undertaking must ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees and other people (such as visitors). This includes ensuring plant, such as quad bikes, are safe to use for the situation and skill of the rider.

Proper instruction and training must be provided and understood by the rider to ensure workers and visitors remain healthy and safe at the workplace.

A worker at work must also take reasonable care for the health and safety of other people at the workplace.


All individuals, including passengers, must wear securely fitted and fastened helmets while operating quad bikes.

Generally, helmets can be chosen based on the context in which a quad bike is used. Helmets that are considered appropriate for quad bikes include those compliant with AS/NZS1698, AS1698, ECE 22.05/06. An NZS 8600-02 compliant helmet may also be appropriate, but only if the speed of the quad bike does not exceed 30km/hr.

However, quad bike riders will need approved motorbike helmets if quad bikes are used in places where separate legislation already requires approved motorbike helmets. These areas extend to roads or road-related areas, state forests or timber reserves, protected areas (other than nature refuges or special wildlife reserves) and recreation areas, as administered by the Department of Transport and Main Roads and the Department of Environment, Science and Innovation.

Age restriction

To ride a quad bike, operators must be at least 16 years of age, or the minimum age recommended by the manufacturer. This means that children under 16 are not allowed on adult-sized quad bikes and can only ride on age-appropriate quad bikes in workplaces.

Passenger restriction

Quad bikes cannot carry passengers, unless the vehicle is explicitly designed for passenger use, and the passenger is at least 16 years old or meets the minimum age recommended by the quad bike's manufacturer.

Other information

Quadwatch provides safety information, data and research and contact details of industry associations, state and territory work health and safety regulators, manufacturers and community groups involved in quad bike safety activities.

Quad bikes are designed for particular purposes and within particular operating conditions. Using them outside these parameters can significantly increase the risk of severe injury or death.

Quad bikes can be unstable due to their light weight and high centre of gravity, increasing the risk of a rollover on rough terrain, especially when turning or driving across slopes.

Overloading, inappropriate fitment of attachments or towing can significantly change the handling, stability and braking conditions of a quad bike and may contribute to its instability and potential for roll over.

Operators and employers should identify the potential hazards and assess the risks of operating a quad bike.

Risk assessments should be undertaken prior to operating a quad bike to ensure any risk caused by the operator or environmental conditions is reduced as much as possible.

Operators should refer to the Rural Plant Code of Practice 2004 (PDF, 0.63 MB) and WorkSafe Victoria's, Quad bikes on farms: A handbook for workplaces which provides handy tips on undertaking risk assessments.

Prior to purchase

Operators should clearly understand the purpose for the quad bike prior to purchase, such as:

  • intended use of quad bike (e.g. tasks to be undertaken, size of property, competency of the operator)
  • whether other equipment can be used instead of a quad bike (i.e. side-by-side vehicle, small tractor or ute)
  • likely terrain and ground conditions
  • power and speed
  • gear ratio
  • suspension
  • centre of gravity
  • drive mechanism
  • after-market attachments and accessories to be used
  • brakes
  • seat carrying capacity
  • reverse gear.

When buying a new or imported second-hand quad bike, you must ensure that it complies with the Consumer Good (Quad Bikes) Safety Standard 2019, including being fitted with a rider crush protection device.

Prior to use

The quad bike's fitness for purpose should be assessed prior to its use. Check:

  • whether there's another item of farm machinery that could provide a safer operation (i.e. a side-by-side vehicle, small tractor or ute)
  • the quad bike is maintained to manufacturer's specifications, including checking that equipment such as brakes are working and tyres are inflated to the correct pressure
  • all guards are in place, particularly foot plates
  • all controls are adjusted so they can be operated comfortably and safely when seated.

New or imported second-hand quad bikes must be fitted with a rider crush protection device. Consider fitting a rider crush protection device to your existing quad bike.

Fitting and using accessories

You must follow the manufacturer's instructions when fitting and using quad bike accessories, including:

  • using only the mounting point or draw bar provided by the manufacturer. Incorrect attachment can increase instability and cause rollovers
  • not altering the height of the mounting point or increase the towing capacity which could affect braking, steering or suspension and increase the risk of rollover
  • ensuring all guards are in place and the bike can be easily operated from the seated position
  • applying the correct load ratings on the front and rear carrier racks to avoid decreasing stability.

Rider behaviours

Operators and passengers must be aware of the new rules:

  • All individuals, including passengers, must wear a securely fitted and fastened helmet.
  • Quad bikes cannot carry passengers, unless the vehicle is explicitly designed for passenger use, and the passenger is at least 16 years old or meets the minimum age recommended by the quad bike's manufacturer.
  • Operators must be at least 16 years of age, or the minimum age recommended by the manufacturer. This means that children under 16 are not allowed on adult-sized quad bikes and can only ride on age-appropriate quad bikes in workplaces.

Operators should:

  • be properly trained and competent before operating a quad bike, particularly when riding on steep slopes, at speed or with attachments. Find accredited quad bike training
  • wear eye protection, gloves, study footwear and clothing that covers arms and legs
  • ensure equipment or liquids being carried or towed are secured and do not suddenly change the weight, balance, steering or braking dynamics by distributing additional weight to the side, front or back
  • take extra care when carrying liquid loads as the weight will shift when turning corners or crossing slopes, adding to instability. Baffle balls should be used when carrying a part load to eliminate stability issues
  • use active riding techniques and have sufficient strength, weight and agility to operate safely and to react quickly to changing terrain or conditions. Operators should be physically capable to control the quad bike and to correctly move their body weight to keep the wheels on the ground at all times
  • carefully descend slopes by keeping the quad bike in low gear and allowing the motor compression to act as a brake
  • operate the quad bike at a safe speed
  • read and comply with manufacturer's advice in the owner's manual
  • regularly inspect and maintain the quad bike, including checking tyre pressure and brakes
  • be aware of heat stress, fatigue or other limiting conditions which may affect concentration while operating a quad bike
  • make sure someone knows where you’re going and when you’ll be back
  • remove the keys when the bike is not in use.

Operators should not:

  • overload the quad bike beyond manufacturer's specifications
  • operate on unfamiliar terrain, rough terrain or steep slopes, especially when carrying cargo or towing
  • exceed towing limits
  • operate a quad bike while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • operate a quad bike beyond their capabilities.


Operators should be aware of:

  • being struck by an object (e.g. overhanging branch)
  • the possibility of rollover from striking an object hidden by long grass such as logs and rocks, location of drains and other hazards
  • washouts after rain or crossing steep terrain
  • rough or uneven ground, especially after rain or flooding
  • a rider's leg being caught in rear tyre, chain or foot rest
  • attachments or loads being too heavy, unequally distributed or not secure
  • the risks posed by poor maintenance of brakes, suspension and tyres.

More information