General safety

General safetyYour quad bike is designed for use within certain operating conditions. Using them outside these parameters can significantly increase your risk of severe injury or death.

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Consider if a quad bike is the right tool for the task

Before riding your quad bike, assess the risks and decide whether a quad bike is the right tool for your activity. There's no such thing as an 'all-terrain vehicle.' Quad bikes aren't made for steep or rocky terrain or heavy bushland because they have a narrow wheel base and a high centre of gravity which makes them easy to roll.

Most quad bike deaths and injuries have occurred when the quad bike has become unstable and rolled onto the rider – even at slow speeds.

Even if you know the terrain you're riding in, decide whether a different vehicle might be better suited to your task. Watch the below film to find out more.

Quad bikes - the right tool for the job?

Download a copy of this film (ZIP/MP4, 79MB)

  • Read transcript
    • Voice over: Before jumping on your quad bike, give some thought to the task at hand.

      Is it really the right tool for the task?

      A quad bike incident can result in serious injury or even death, so don't assume your quad bike is the best tool for every task.

      Quad bikes can be prone to roll-over or collision when traversing rough or sloping terrain or when making emergency stops or turns.

      These issues are made worse when the quad bike is weighed down with heavy equipment or you're towing an attachment not designed to be used with your particular model.

      Plan your task and identify the safest equipment to use to complete it.

      When mustering cattle with a quad bike you could be crossing rough terrain at speed or need to make tight turns to chase cattle.

      There is a high potential for a collision or roll-over incident, due to the terrain or rocks, logs and holes hidden in long grass.

      The alternatives for mustering may be to use a horse, a motorbike or dogs.

      Using a quad bike to carry a large amount of equipment to do a task may not be the best option either.

      If you're erecting or repairing a fence then perhaps carrying your equipment and workers in a ute or other vehicle is a better option?

      You will need to check the manufacturer's guidelines to assess whether your quad bike is suited to carrying heavy loads or towing attachments and that they're fitted correctly.

      Spraying weeds is another common task on properties, but towing a heavy attachment can pose a danger by increasing the instability of the quad bike.

      The weight from large volumes of liquid add to the potential for a quad bike to lose steering or braking control and may lead to a roll-over, especially if the tank doesn't have baffles to stop the movement of liquid when the quad bike is turning or travelling across sloping ground.

      Even a small amount of liquid in a large tank will affect the stability of a quad bike.

      A better option may be to use a tractor or ute that has the capacity to carry a larger volume of herbicide mix and which has a spray rig.

      There will be times when using your quad bike is the best tool for the task…. whether you're inspecting fences, checking animals, spraying small areas, or doing other small maintenance tasks.

      At other times a side-by-side quad bike, a tractor, ute, horse or other vehicle may be better suited.

      Ultimately you need to decide whether your quad bike is up to the task by assessing the risks….

      Other safety tips include: wearing helmets, long sleeve shirts, gloves, boots and eye goggles. Being trained in the use of quad bikes. Maintaining your quad bike to the manufacturer's specifications and checking the brakes and tyre pressure daily. Not doubling passengers. Knowing your property's terrain and not venturing into no-go zones.

      Develop a safety procedure for your property and make sure everyone follows it.

      Work safe. Farm safe.


      RUN TIME: 3 mins 29 seconds

To help you decide if a quad bike is the right tool for your task, check the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries 5 Star Safe ATV User Guide (PDF, 969.38 KB) .

If you need some guidance on picking a quad bike that’s right for you have a look at the WorkCover NSW - Farm vehicle pre-selection checklist .

Quad bikes versus side-by-side vehicles

Side-by-side vehicles are often considered better than quad bikes because they can accommodate two to six people in a side-by-side bucket or bench seating arrangement, have seat belts and roll over protection. They have a wider wheel base which adds to their stability.

Side by side vehicles 01Side by side vehicles 02

Aging riders and riders with mobility issues

To ride a quad bike you need to be physically fit and strong to manoeuvre it properly.

You must also take into consideration whether you suffer from conditions such as serious heart disorders, epilepsy, or are taking prescription medication which may affect your ability to operate the quad bike safely.

Operating a quad bike in remote or isolated areas

Make sure you tell someone before you leave on your quad bike and let them know where you are going and when you think you will be back, especially when going into a remote area.

One of the best ways for others to find you if you have had an incident is to have a personal locator beacon or other control on your quad bike that will show your exact location and where emergency services can be directed. If you are unable to have a personal locator on your quad bike ensure you take a two-way radio, your mobile phone or an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) with you when you go riding.

Register your quad bike or side-by-side vehicle

The Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) administers the Conditional Registration Scheme (the scheme) which allows for legal limited road access for non-standard vehicles that do not comply with the safety standards, but have a genuine need for limited access to the road network, such as quad bikes or side-by-side vehicles.

The scheme provides limited access to Queensland roads, protection through compulsory third party insurance in the event of a crash and establishes how the vehicle can be operated on the road.

A class C drivers licence is required to ride a quad bike on a road or road related area.

Quad bike users wanting to access Queensland roads need to register their quad bikes under the scheme and will then be able to operate them to the designated area referenced in the scheme guideline.

Riders and passengers on quad bikes must wear an approved motorcycle helmet when riding on roads or road-related areas as part of the scheme. Children under the age of eight years old are now prohibited from being carried as passengers on quad bikes and utility off-road vehicles used on roads or road-related areas.

Penalties are now enforceable that align with motorcycle offences and include minimum age restrictions for passengers on quad bikes and utility off-road vehicles. Helmets must comply with either AS1698 or UN ECE22.05 standards.

For more information, refer to the Guideline for conditionally registered vehicles in Queensland (Form 17) version 3.5. (PDF, 399KB) or visit

Quad bike maintenance and pre-start checks

Quad bikes are like any vehicle, you service your car, and that should apply to your quad bike too. Make sure you read the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure you know when and how to service your quad bike. The frequency of the routine maintenance should take into account of the environment in which the vehicles operate.

Before anyone rides the bike conduct a pre-start check. A pre-start checklist will ensure that fluid levels are correct, tyres are inflated to the correct pressure, brakes are functioning properly and that there are no loose or damaged parts. This will assist in minimising the risk of a crash or the operators becoming stranded in remote locations due to breakdown or lack of fuel.

A pre-start check is an essential task and even more importantly if the rider was not the last person to use the vehicle, or they have not ridden it for some time. The operator’s manual will list specific items that must be checked before the quad bike/SSV is ridden. It is essential that you follow these procedures and specifications laid out in the manual.

More information

More information on quad bikes and side-by-side safety.

Last updated
09 December 2019