New research on the safety of quad bikes announced earlier this month represent a renewed push by authorities to find ways of reducing deaths and injuries associated with these vehicles.
On March 8, minister for finance and services Greg Pearce launched the first stage of a $1 million research project which will see 15 quad bike variants tested using a tilt-table to assess their likelihood of rolling over with different front and rear load combinations.
In a statement, Mr Pearce said that quad bikes were the biggest cause of death and injury on Australian farms.
“Most deaths are a result of head injuries, asphyxia or serious chest injuries from being trapped by overturned vehicles,” said Mr Pearce.
More than 200 tests will be conducted by safety experts and will explore different combinations of riders, loads and operator protection devices.
The aim will be to look for ways to improve quad bike design so that riders are safer, even if rollovers or other incidents occur.
“The safety of quad bike users and improving the unacceptable fatality and injury rates needs to be a priority for manufacturers, suppliers and the farming community,” said Mr Pearce.
“I look forward to the findings of this world leading research which will help regulators and guide manufacturers [in how to] make engineering and design improvements.”
Despite these efforts however, there are still those who think that the government and authorities are not doing enough to ensure the safety of quad bikes.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) responded to the latest quad bike fatality – which occurred in NSW early last week – by urging immediate action on quad bike safety.
“Quad bikes continue to kill, injure and maim people at work, yet Australia’s work health and safety regulators seem to be standing by and letting this happen,” said ACTU assistant secretary Michael Borowick in a statement issued March 15.
“We cannot wait for more people to die while more research is conducted into the effectiveness of crush protection devices.”
Mr Borowick said that despite there being “strong evidence” that rollbars and other protection devices would save lives, they were still not required by law on quad bikes.
HE called on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to make crush protection devices mandatory on all quad bikes sold in Australia.
In NSW, people injured at work are entitled to workers compensation. If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of a quad bike accident at work, you can talk to compensation lawyers in Sydney about your compensation entitlements.