Quad bikes and side-by-side vehicles
Quad bikes and side-by-side vehicles are great farming vehicles but they aren't without their dangers. Follow these steps to ensure you stay safe.
Choose the right vehicle for the job
Find out whether a quad bike is the best vehicle option for your farm.
Some things to think about are:
- What will the vehicle be used for? Are you mustering stock, spraying, moving tools and equipment?
- Who needs to use the vehicle?
- Do you need to carry or tow a load?
- What type of terrain will you be driving over?
The right vehicle is the safest one.
Operator Protection Devices (OPDs)
Over 60 per cent of quad bike fatalities are due to rollover.
An operator protective device (OPD), also referred to as a crush protection device (CPD), is an engineered attachment that is fitted to a quad bike. They are designed to help protect riders from crush related injuries in the event of a rollover.
There are two OPDs available under the Quad Bike Safety Rebate Program.
Incorrect tyre pressure impacts traction and user stability. Take a few seconds to check the tyre pressure before start up and refer to the instructions in the owner’s manual.
Keep kids off adult-sized quad bikes
Since 2001, 222 kids have lost their lives on Australian farms, with quad bike fatalities being one of the leading causes. A quarter of these incidents involve children younger than six years of age.
No child under 16 should ride or be a passenger on adult sized quad bikes.
Mark, a SafeWork inspector says from first-hand experience, children should not be riding on adult-sized quad bikes.
Susan, a paediatric surgeon, says combining kids and quad bikes is a 'deadly mix'.
Read more about child safety on farms.
A side-by-side vehicle (SSV) is more stable than a quad bike. It comes fitted with a steering wheel, seat belts and rollover protection, and has a higher load capacity.
A seat belt can save your life
Always wear your seat belt when riding an SSV. If there's a collision or rollover, your seat belt helps keep you secured in your seat and protects you from serious or fatal injuries.
When getting back into your vehicle after opening or closing a gate, always remember to put your seat belt back on.
Check that seat belts and anchor points are in good condition.
About 40 per cent of serious injuries from quad bike incidents involve a traumatic head injury.
Always wear a helmet while riding a quad bike or SSV. Wearing a helmet reduces the risk of a fatality in a quad bike incident.
Your helmet should:
- fit well
- be securely fastened
- be kept in good condition
There are a range of helmets suitable for on-farm use that are lightweight, ventilated, and provide sun protection.
More safety tips
- Wear personal protective equipment, such as goggles and sturdy footwear.
- Get quad bike and/or SSV training.
- Make sure someone knows where you're going – carry a mobile phone.
- Look out for rocks, holes, fallen branches, uneven ground and other obstacles. If you can’t see what the ground conditions are like, get off and walk around the area before you drive over it. A drone might help.
If you own or operate a farm in NSW, or work on one, you may be eligible for a safety rebate.
As an owner or operator, you'll be eligible for two rebates totaling up to $2000. You'll get a rebate of up to:
|$2000 to buy an SSV||list of eligible SSVs|
|$600 for an OPD|
|$500 for a drone|
Sub 2kg eligible drones
Over 2kg eligible drones
|$90 for a helmet|
As a worker, you'll get a $90 rebate towards the purchase of a helmet.
To find out if you're eligible and to apply for the rebate, visit the NSW Farmers Association.
Before you apply, you must do one of the following free educative interactions:
- watch our webinar
- visit a SafeWork NSW stall at an event such as an Agricultural Field or Farm Safety Day
- arrange a safety advisory visit or,
- arrange quad bike/SSV training through Tocal College.
You should be trained to operate and maintain a quad bike or SSV safely. We have partnered with Tocal College to deliver free one-day quad bike and SSV training events in regional and remote locations across NSW. Participants of the quad bike training will also receive a free helmet.
Derek Schoen, a farmer from Corowa and former president of the NSW Farmers Association, is a great believer in using an SSV rather than a quad bike.
Robert Hood, a farmer from Meadow Flat, talks about his near-fatal quad bike incident. He now uses an SSV.
More true stories
Listen to other farmers tell their stories about quad bikes and SSVs.
Researchers from the Transport and Road Safety Unit at the University of NSW discuss the results from their 1000-odd tests involving a range of quad bikes and side-by-side vehicles.
Quad bike safety improvement program
- quad bikes are being used less frequently and more carefully
- fewer farmers are planning to replace their quad bikes
- more farmers are switching to SSVs – the use of SSVs has increased by 12 per cent since 2017
- awareness of safety options, such as OPDs, has increased.
UNSW Sydney – Transport and Road Safety
If you are a farmer who is either an employer, or in charge of a farm workplace - then you must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the health and safety of workers and other persons is not put at risk from the work undertaken. If your work involves the use of quadbikes or side-by-side vehicles (SSVs), then you must ensure those vehicles do not put workers and others at risk.
It is important that workers who operate any vehicle or machine on the farm have the necessary skills to operate the machine safely in the workplace. Farmers who are employers must assess skills, provide safety inductions and training if necessary.