Quad bikes inherently unstable, says ACCC

By Jamie Salter

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has shot down claims rider behaviour is the leading cause of quad bike deaths, saying the machines themselves are inherently unstable.

In the first six months of 2020, 14 people, including three children, have died in quad bike-related accidents in Australia — compared to a total of eight last year.

Quad bike accidents are the main cause of death and severe injuries on Australian farms.

In response, the Federal Government has introduced the Quad Bike Safety Standard, with the first stage to take effect on Sunday, October 11.

The standard will mean improved information for potential purchasers and rollover protection devices fitted onto quad bikes.

ACCC deputy chair Mick Keogh said ongoing fatalities and serious injuries highlighted the importance of the new safety standard.

“For many years, manufacturers have been claiming rider behaviour is the major reason for the number of deaths and injuries,” Mr Keogh said.

“Their aim has been to shift the focus away from the unsafe design of quad bikes.

“The truth of the matter is, the inherent instability of quad bikes causes them to frequently roll over.

“It has been reported that at least eight of the fatalities so far this year involved rollovers, with four of them resulting in crush injuries.”

Research from the University of NSW found almost half of quad bike accidents involved riders who had 20 or more years of experience operating them.

Mr Keogh said as October 11 drew closer, scare tactics from groups opposed to the new safety standard had ramped-up.

“Top of the list is the suggestion that because some quad bike manufacturers have threatened to stop selling in Australia due to the new safety requirements, farmers will lose a critical piece of farm machinery,” he said.

“If a manufacturer withdraws from Australia, others will willingly step in to provide the safer quad bikes.”

Mr Keogh said safety was a responsibility for quad bike and side-by-side vehicle drivers.

“We have seen an increase in fatalities and serious injuries linked with SSVs because people are not practising safe use,” he said.

“Always wear a helmet and use a seat belt every time you get into these vehicles.”