News

Quad bike safety promoted

By Country News

A new campaign will renew calls for farmers and workers to be vigilant on and around all-terrain vehicles and quad bikes, following a number of deaths and injuries this year.

The Victorian Government and WorkSafe Victoria campaign will demonstrate how easily quad bikes can roll and the consequences of not operating them properly.

A farmer who received serious injuries when his four-wheeler overturned on a farm will share his story as part of WorkSafe’s latest quad bike safety awareness campaign.

David Elder suffered an acquired brain injury after the quad bike he was operating rolled off the side of a driveway at his neighbour’s property at Bethanga, near Wodonga, in 2013.

VFF president David Jochinke called on all quad bike owners to be practical and safe when using a quad bike.

‘‘The real-life stories shared in the new safety campaign are deeply uncomfortable and painful to hear,’’ Mr Jochinke said.

‘‘Yet these farmers could be considered the lucky ones because they are still here to tell their stories. There are too many adults and children who never walked away from their quad bike accident.

‘‘When you look at the data, roll-overs are the most common type of accident.

‘‘Operator protection devices can’t prevent roll-overs but they can dramatically reduce the risk of the driver being stuck underneath a rolled quad bike and suffocating to death.’’

More than $4million has been spent fitting more than 2600 operator protection devices, and to assist with more than 1850 purchases of more suitable vehicles through rebates promoted through the VFF.

‘‘Any death on a Victorian farm, factory or workplace is one too many — that’s why we’re running this campaign, so families don’t have to experience the grief of losing a loved one,’’ Workplace Safety Minister Jill Hennessy said.

‘‘No two rides are ever the same — it doesn’t matter how experienced you are riding quad bikes, rollovers happen quickly and without warning.’’

Since March 2018, WorkSafe inspectors have issued more than 460 improvement notices on quad bikes, including 347 that have directly related to adequately controlling the risk of rollover, according to the Victorian Government.

Last year the government announced $20million in funding for the new Victorian Agriculture Skills Statement: Smarter, Safer Farms — including $10million for farm safety and wellbeing initiatives to change Victoria’s farm safety culture and reduce the number of deaths and injuries on farms.

The rebate to install roll-over protection on quad bikes, or to substitute them for more terrain-appropriate vehicles, has been extended until September this year.

■For more information about quad bike rebates, phone the VFF on 1300 882 833 or visit: www.vff.org.au/quadbike