OUR SAY: Farmers are learning quad bikes aren’t child’s play

Despite their reputation as a fun all-terrain farm vehicle driving a quad bike is not as easy as it may seem.

Farmer Graham Brown knows only too well just how dangerous the bikes can be, even when being driven at slow speed. Mr Brown nearly died after a quad bike accident.

The incident left him with grave injuries including broken ribs, an injured shoulder and in need of a hip replacement.

By his own account Mr Brown wasn’t performing an amazingly difficult maneuver in dangerous terrain, in fact quite the opposite. He was undertaking some routine spraying on a slight slow, while driving slowly.

Of course there were dire consequences for Mr Brown. The accident reduced his ability to work by 70 per cent for three years and gave him the fright of his life. In fact Mr Brown believes he may have suffocated had he been pinned under the vehicle.

New research published in Safety Science reveals just how temperamental some quad bikes can be, with even a “tuft of grass” able to destabilise a vehicle.

The research also showed vehicles can be unsafe because there’s no rollover protection. In fact, since 2001, there are have been more than 200 quad-bike related deaths in Australia.

Yet despite the risks associated with driving such a vehicle their popularity doesn’t look to be waning.

Farmers and their workers see their value and continue to use them as an efficient mode of transport. Using a quad bike enables workers to traverse large properties with ease. They can also be used to spray weeds and undertake property maintenance including checking fencing.

So while quad bikes are a useful piece of farm equipment, it’s important that those who use them realise just how dangerous they can be.

Firstly workers should be trained in how to drive them and should wear helmets at all times. Most importantly everyone who drives a quad bike should do so with extreme caution.

Quad bikes are dangerous vehicles and ensuring as many people as possible know this is the only way we can expect to see the number of quad-bike related deaths drop.


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