Any type of vehicle can be dangerous in the wrong hands or in tricky conditions. Along with motorbike accidents, quad bike injuries are proving to be an ongoing source of distress around Australia. While they're barely used on the roads, this actually contributes to the risk, as they're often ridden across farms and other areas with unpredictable terrain.
Contrary to popular belief, the extra two wheels these vehicles boast over regular vehicles motorbikes don't actually make quad bikes much safer. Instead, the added weight means people are often seriously injured when the bikes topple over and trap or crush the rider. As such, many industry bodies are urging people to take extra care when operating these vehicles.
Why are quad bikes so dangerous?
Quad bikes are used for two main reasons throughout Australia: as work vehicles on farms and other outdoor areas, and as recreational vehicles. As Safe Work Australia reports, neither option is safer than the other, with the 106 fatalities recorded between 2011 and 2016 split evenly between occupational and recreational use.
The organisation noted that three states were responsible for the vast majority of these fatal accidents, with NSW second only behind Queensland in terms of total fatalities. Quad bikes are also becoming a safety hazard for Australians of all ages. Safe Work Australia found that the youngest victim was just 4 years old, while the oldest was 94.
The fact that children are so often involved in these accidents has prompted the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) to make efforts to further raise awareness of the danger. According to the organisation, there are a number of common mistakes parents make when putting their children on the vehicles, such as not teaching them to ride properly, putting them on machines of the incorrect size and letting more than one person on single-seat machines.
According to the FCAI, it's also essential that riders wear the correct safety gear at all times when on these vehicles. While some companies are pioneering the use of Crush Protection Devices (CPD), the FCAI argues that a helmet is still the safest option, as CPDs can prevent a rider from being able to get clear of the vehicle in an accident.
If you've been injured in an accident involving a quad bike or other vehicle, you need to get in touch with specialist compensation lawyers. Call the team at Gerard Malouf and Partners to find out how we can help.