Farmsafe Australia has reported a record number of deaths for quad bikes this year, with 16 people dying in quad bike accidents and another 50 being injured. This record number of deaths may be due to more farm activity around harvest and more family and friends being home on farms during the holiday period, says Charles Armstrong. The number of fatalities already this year is more than any year previous.
The first stage of the mandatory safety standard has recently come into effect for quad bikes in Australia, as ordered by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). This involves all new and imported second-hand quad bikes sold in Australia to be tested for lateral static stability. Quad bikes also need to display the angle which the quad bike will tip and display a rollover warning label.
Sixty per cent of quad bike fatalities occur because the driver is crushed underneath the bike, whereas no fatalities have occurred when the bike was fitted with a roll bar. However, mandatory rollover protection will not be enforced until October 2021 in the second stage.
The ACCC has been testing quad bikes to determine the angle which they would roll to be displayed on the bikes at sale. Safety stickers on bikes will feature the degree of slope at which the bike will flip over. This is hoped to reduce the number of rollovers by allowing consumers to choose more stable vehicles.
Until rollover bars are mandatory the ACCC hopes farmers will fit their own devices using the government subsidies available to cover the costs of retrofitting older bikes.
Farmers such as John Lowe, who was saved by the roll over protection on his quadbike, are advocating for other farmers to fit their own bike. His quad bike rolled after dropping into a small hole, luckily John walked away unscathed because he had spent the money fitting the safety equipment to his bike. This is particularly important if farm hands or other employees are using quad bikes, as new workplace safety laws can hold farmers liable for fatalities that occur.
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