Quad bikes on farms
Quad bikes are useful farm vehicles, however they can be dangerous if they're not used correctly.
Quad bikes account for a high number of incidents on farms with more than 240 deaths from the vehicles since 2001. In NSW, 32 fatalities have occurred since 2011, with approximately 20% of those fatalities being children under 16 years.
It’s important that you and your farm workers are trained properly in quad bike use.
- Always wear a compliant helmet and other personal protective equipment (PPE) including eye protection, hand protection, long sleeve shirt, full length pants and sturdy footwear.
- Consider fitting operator-protective devices to quad bikes.
- Never let children under 16 years operate or ride as passengers on adult sized quad bikes.
- Before purchasing attachments, check that they’re suitable for use with your quad bike. Attachments on your quad bike can reduce the stability, operator control and performance of the vehicle.
- Carry a two way radio or mobile phone with you and let people know where you are.
- If you’re going to use a quad bike, inspect the area first for any potential hazards such as rocks, holes or logs.
For general information on quad bike safety, visit our quad bike page.
Growing up and living on the farm, I witnessed two close calls on quad bikes.
One time my grandfather was paying attention to livestock rather than looking where the quad bike was going. The front wheel went downhill on the track and the quad bike rolled over taking him over the bank with it.
Fortunately he was okay but he was pretty knocked and bruised. We had to drag the quad bike out with the tractor.
Another day, my neighbour was helping me get the cows for milking. He went into a creek with the quad bike. Although there’d been some recent flooding it didn’t look too bad. The cows went in as they normally do.
After he took the quad bike in water quickly got under it. On quad bikes the big low pressure tyres float quite easily. The water picked the quad bike up and rolled him over dunking him in the water a couple of times.
Luckily he wasn’t trapped under the quad bike so he was able to get out and made his way to the bank. The quad bike ended up lodged on a little bit of an island in the middle of the creek.
Quad bikes need to be operated with care. They are not toys and you need to be trained to use them safely.
Jason, a beef producer from Baradine is grateful for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service. After he found himself in trouble on his quad bike one day, the chopper stepped in and he got the medical treatment he needed. He gives pointers on how you can prevent injuries, or potentially a fatality, on your farm.
Alicia has grown up on a third generation cattle farm in Adelong. Her father had planned to hand the farm down to her brothers, Blake and Lachie when one day their lives were changed forever. Her brother, Lachie was tragically killed in a quad bike accident. Alicia chats about how there can be danger in places you least expect it and her commitment to workplace safety.
When there's an injury
Unfortunately, the longer an injured farm worker stays home from work, the less likely it is that they will return, so it’s essential to get them back to work as possible.
The SIRA website has detailed information on what is required in a return to work program and how to set one up.
- Tips for farm owners whose contractors use quad bikes - WorkSafe Victoria
- Quad bike safety improvement program
- Quad bike safety rebate.
- for farmers: National Farmers Federation (NFF)
- for commercial fish operations owners: Commonwealth Fisheries Association (CFA)
- for forest products growers and support: Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA)
- for agriculture and fisheries workers: Australian Workers’ Union (AWU)
- for forestry workers: The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU).