New quad bike laws could be introduced next year with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission launching an investigation into the safety of the four-wheeled vehicles.
Announced last week, a new inquiry will explore the issue as part of a Federal Government taskforce assembled to address growing concerns surrounding the safety of the vehicles, which have claimed 10 lives this year, including a six-year-old girl and a seven-year-old boy.
Quad bikes are a leading cause of death and injury on-farm, with almost half of all quad bike deaths a result of a rollover.
This has prompted schemes including the Quad Bike Safety Rebate, which provided financial rebates to those who installed roll-bars on their quad bikes or upgraded to safer all terrain vehicles.
‘‘Tragically, 114 people have been killed in Australia in quad bike accidents since 2011. The ACCC is investigating a range of possible options to improve quad bike safety and prevent further deaths and injuries in the community,’’ ACCC Commissioner Mick Keogh said.
‘‘A key question is whether a safety standard should be introduced for quad bikes under the Australian Consumer Law.’’
About 380000 quad bikes are in operation within Australia, with more than $35.3million spent on quad bikes for agricultural use in 2015, and one in five quad bikes owned by those within the agriculture and forestry sector.
Of the 114 people killed by quad bike accidents in the past six years, 54 were employed almost exclusively in agriculture or rural businesses.
The ACCC Quad Bike Safety Taskforce is seeking feedback from farmers, manufacturers, dealers, workplace safety experts and researchers on a range of issues and options including mandating specific design requirements, including features that reduce the risk to children riding quad bikes designed for adults, introducing a safety rating system and mandating safer warning information.
‘‘The ACCC recognises that quad bikes are important vehicles for many Australians who rely on them for work on farms, or use them recreationally, which is why it is important for stakeholders to have their say,’’ Mr Keogh said.
The ACCC will make a draft recommendation to the Federal Government early next year, with a final recommendation to be made mid-2018.
■Submissions are due by December 15 at 5pm and can be made via email or post.
■For more information visit: consultation.accc.gov.au/product-safety/quad-bike-safety-investigation