The University of NSW Transport and Road Safety Unit today released the results of a world-first testing and research project into quad bike safety.

WorkCover NSW funded the $1.3 million Quad Bike Performance Project designed to quantify the stability and crash worthiness of quad bikes and assess their risks and performance.

Executive Director of WorkCover’s Work Health and Safety Divison, Peter Dunphy, said the research was part of a national Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities (HWSA) initiative to reduce current unacceptable levels of quad bike related fatalities and injuries on farms.

“Quad bikes are currently the leading cause of death on Australian farms*, “Mr Dunphy said.

“Since 2001, more than 210 people have died as a result of quad bike incidents with 67 per cent of those occurring on farms. Of these, around 20 per cent involve children under 16,” he said.

The project was conducted over 18 months by researchers from the University of NSW Transport and Road Safety unit and involved more than 1000 tests carried out on 16 vehicles.

“Tests were carried out on agricultural and recreational quad bikes and side by side vehicles for static stability, dynamic handling and rollover crash worthiness - with and without load and with and without operator protective devices,” Mr Dunphy said.

The Quad bike performance project produced 24 recommendations including:

  • introducing a consumer safety rating system for new vehicles
  • retrofitting of operator protective devices for existing on-farm vehicles
  • increasing helmet wearing
  • restricting children under 16 from operating an adult quad bike
  • increasing education and awareness about the importance of vehicle selection and safe use.

Head of the research team Professor Raphael Grzebieta said the research has shown it is important to rate quad bikes and side by side vehicles to help reduce injuries.

“This project has identified that a rating system would be one of the most effective ways to allow consumers to make informed decisions about the safety of their vehicle,” Mr Grzebieta said.

Mr Dunphy said WorkCover is reviewing the findings of the research report and is working with stakeholders and the Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities to develop a nationally agreed position in relation to the research findings and a revised Quad national Bike Safety Strategy.

“There are around 300,000 quad bikes in operation across Australia and we are committed to working with industry to deliver safety improvements to prevent injuries and most importantly, save lives,” he said.

The research recommendations have also been used as part of two separate coronial inquiries into quad bike deaths in QLD and NSW.

The research report is available from

Media contact:  WorkCover NSW 02 4321 4108 or 0413 186 799  UNSW (02) 9385 7307 or 0478 492 060.

*Data sourced from The Australian Centre for Agricultural health and Safety

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