Recent spate of quad bike incidents (April 2020)
Date of incidents: April 2020
During April there were four separate serious incidents involving quad bikes and a side by side vehicle. Three of the incidents resulted in a fatality, the fourth resulted in spinal injuries to the worker. It is believed that all four incidents involved the vehicle rolling and crushing the rider.
On the morning of the 3 April 2020, a 64-year-old farm worker went to check stock on a sheep stud. When he didn’t return later that afternoon, a search party was organised involving Police and volunteers. The farmer’s body was found that night in a large sloping rocky outcrop, underneath an upright quad bike.
On 8 April, a man was moving his neighbour’s cattle on a side-by-side vehicle. When going up a steep incline the vehicle tipped and rolled, fatally crushing the man underneath. It appears the vehicle's seat belt was fastened so that the vehicle could be started, but not placed around the rider. The man was allegedly not wearing a helmet.
On 13 April, a 69-year-old man sustained a cracked vertebrae and ligament damage when his quad bike rolled over. Westpac Rescue Helicopter transported the man to hospital for treatment.
On 17 April, a 67-year-old woman was found dead in a paddock on her farm. Despite the flat terrain, it appears the quad bike she was riding rolled and crushed her.
Side-by-side vehicle involved in incident (left) and site of incident near Wauchope
Consider ‘reasonably practicable’ control measures to manage the risks associated with quad bikes and side-by side-vehicles.
- the vehicle is appropriate for the task, the terrain and the rider
- you do a quad bike or side-by-side vehicle riding course
- you ride at a speed that’s suitable for the conditions
- you wear a seatbelt when operating side by side vehicles
- you wear an approved helmet
- you wear personal protective equipment, such as goggles and sturdy footwear
- you use and maintain the vehicle in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions
- you don’t overload the vehicle or tow anything that exceeds the vehicle's limits
- you assess the environmental conditions, and know where there are rocks, trees, creeks and gullies, and where the ground is soft and rain-affected – a drone might help
- you avoid steep terrain
- an operator protection device (OPD) is fitted to your quad bike
- someone knows where you're going – carry a mobile phone or other communication device
- no child under 16 years ride adult size bikes
- no passengers on quad bikes
Businesses are reminded of their duty to identify hazards and manage risks to health and safety in accordance with the provisions of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017.
- Since 2001, there have been more than 240 quad bike related deaths on Australian farms.
- Over 60 per cent of quad bike fatalities are due to rollover.
- About 30 per cent of quad bike fatalities involve head injuries.
- About 40 per cent of serious injuries from quad bike incidents involve a traumatic head injury.
- Wearing a helmet reduces the risk of fatality in a quad bike incident by 40 per cent.