Using quad bikes: 5 top tips
The quad bike: a useful means of transport for sure – tough and versatile, quad bikes can help Australian farmers tend to crops and livestock quickly and efficiently. It’s easy to see why they are so popular on Australian farms.
Unfortunately though, they are also a leading cause of death and injury in the rural community.
Since 2001, there have been more than 210 deaths across Australia involving quad bikes on farms. Indeed, of the 23 quad-bike deaths recorded in 2011, 18 occurred on farms.
Significant research and testing has been undertaken in recent times, commissioned by the NSW government to find out what is causing the problems and what might be some solutions to reduce fatalities and injuries.
We often hear farmers sharing stories about accidents on quadbikes – so here are our five top tips for keeping alive and well on the farm while using quad bikes:
- Is a quad bike the right vehicle for the job? The safest vehicle for you to use on your farm is the one best suited to the job in hand. Before you even buy a quad bike, ask yourself if it’s actually going to serve your need. Consider your ground conditions, the type of goods you will be carrying, what type of work you will be doing around the farm and whether you require the vehicle to have towing capacity.
- Training: Due to the specific design features and handling characteristics of a quad bike, anyone who is going to be using the vehicle should undertake an accredited training course, and inexperienced riders should always be supervised.
- Compatible attachments: It seems obvious, but it is crucial to the safety of a quad bike that the attachments used are compatible with the specific vehicle you are using. Also consider that attachments on your quad bike, particularly spray tanks, can reduce the stability – which is already low on these vehicles, as well as operator control and performance.
- Always wear a helmet: As with motorbikes or even horses, quad bikes are no different when it comes to protective equipment. Always wear a helmet when operating a quad bike – no matter how short the journey, how familiar you are with the terrain or how much experience you have riding quad bikes.
- Don’t let children under 16 years operate or ride as passengers on adult-sized quad bikes: This one really does speak for itself. Don’t let your kids on the farm’s quad bikes – not even as passengers on the vehicle you are riding. It’s just not worth the risk.
The emotional and financial cost of the deaths and injuries that occur through quad bike incidents to Australian farm families and communities is just too high.
Find out more, and listen to the story of a family who have seen first-hand the dangers of quad bikes on farms.