The NSW government has handed out $1 million worth of rebates to farmers so they can improve the safety of quad bikes.
More than 115 people have died in accidents involving quad bikes across Australia since 2011, according to SafeWork NSW statistics. Over one-third of these fatalities have occurred within the state.
Figures from Safe Work Australia show 69 quad bike deaths between January 1 2011 and December 31 2016 transpired on farms or properties. Nearly half of accidents involve employees, with 30 per cent of deaths in 2016 considered work related.
Rollovers are the biggest threat with quad bike riding, as vehicles are prone to tipping over and crushing people while they are traversing uneven terrain.
The Quad Bike Safety Improvement Program was launched in 2016, enabling farmers to apply for up to $2,000 to add new safety equipment to their quad bikes. Free quad bike training and a helmet are also provided under the scheme.
Matt Kean, minister for better regulation, said many farmers have welcomed the initiative, with 1,500 rebates already issued at a cost of $1 million.
“This includes more than 700 claims for side-by-side vehicles, and represents a total quad bike safety investment by NSW farmers of around $12.9 million,” he explained.
“While this is encouraging, more still needs to be done to bring down the tragic toll of quad bike accidents across NSW.”
Earlier this year, SafeWork NSW revealed that it was working with the state government on a research project aimed at boosting quad bike safety.
Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair said the research would involve working closely with quad bike riders from a range of backgrounds.
“I would encourage any quad bike users to take part in this opportunity which will help us understand how we can ensure injury rates drop as close to zero as possible,” he said in June.
Mr Kean claimed a national five-star safety rating system for quad bikes is an objective that state and federal agencies are working hard to introduce.
The National Farmers’ Federation and the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) have frequently called for a five-star system.
RDAA President Dr Ewen McPhee said quad bike accidents were the leading cause of farm-related deaths in 2015 and 2016.
“As rural doctors, we see the devastation caused by the death or serious injury to the families and communities affected by on-farm incidents,” he explained.
Are you in the process of making a workers compensation claim due to a quad bike-related incident? Please contact a personal injury lawyer at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers.