National Farmers' Federation

Quad Bike Safety Policy

The NFF recognises the essential nature of quad bikes to many Australian farm businesses. The NFF is committed to safeguarding farmers’ continued access to quad bikes by supporting sensible, evidence-backed measures to significantly improve the safety of these vehicles – ensuring that legal and regulatory consequences of their associated dangers do not constrict their availability in future.

Key Points

  • For many Australians farmers quad bikes are an essential farm tool.
  • On average 16 Australians are killed in quad bikes accidents each year.
  • The NFF is committed to advocating for measures that prevent quad bike deaths and life-altering injuries and safeguarding farmers continued access to quad bikes.
  • The NFF supports the implementation of a safety standard for quad bikes by 11 October 2021 that incorporates requirements for all new quad bikes to be fitted with operator protection devices (OPDs) at the point of sale.

The problem

The utility of quad bikes as a tool on farm is hampered by the serious danger they can pose to the lives and livelihoods of those who ride them – with an average of 16 quad bike-related deaths each year and at least 267 total deaths since 2001. Almost half of these deaths are the result of circumstances in which the quad bike rolls over on top of the rider, crushing and/or trapping them under the bike itself leading to major injuries and asphyxiation.

It is estimated that the annual hospitalisations resulting from quad bike accidents range from 650 to 1400 (with an anecdotally significant proportion of these resulting in serious, permanent disability) and inflicting an estimated cost to the national economy of over $200 million annually.

The solution

The NFF supports changes to make quad bikes safer so that they can continue to be useful tools on-farm without the current associated rate of fatalities and life-altering injuries. Such changes will also pre-empt and avoid the very real possibility that quad bikes will eventually be banned outright or become prohibitively expensive or legally risky to use, as laws, insurance and health and safety regulations adapt naturally over time. In addition to this, the NFF and its members are strong proponents of education and training in the safe and proper use of quad bikes — including the benefits of wearing helmets and the risk of allowing kids on adult bikes. The NFF, our members and Farmsafe engage regularly with state-based Workplace Health and Safety Authorities in relation to these matters.

On 24 Oct 2017, then-Ministers for Small Business (Michael McCormack) and Employment (Michaelia Cash) announced the ACCC would conduct an enquiry to address quad bike safety as an urgency. Over 18 months the ACCC held three rounds of submissions, took 119 sets of submissions, consulted with over a dozen experts, and considered more than 60 expert reports. In March 2019 they published a 112-page report. They concluded that a consumer Safety Standard should be introduced applying to all new quad bikes.

The Consumer Goods (Quad Bikes) Safety Standard 2019 was introduced by then-Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar on 10 October 2019. It consists of two stages of implementation to improve the safety of general use quad bikes while minimising the impact on users and manufacturers.

Stage 1: 11 October 2020

  • All new quad bikes, and directly imported second-hand quad bikes must:
    • meet the specified requirements of the US quad bike Standard, ANSI/SVIA 1-2017 or the EN 15997:2011 Standard.
    • be tested for lateral static stability using a tilt table test and display the angle at which they tip onto two wheels on a hang tag at the point of sale.
    • have a durable label affixed, visible and legible when the quad bike is in operation, alerting the operator to the risk of rollover, and must include rollover safety information in the owner’s manual.

Stage 2: 11 October 2021

  • All new, and directly imported second hand general-use model quad bikes must:
    • be fitted with, or have integrated into the design, an operator protection device.
    • meet the minimum stability requirements of:
      • lateral stability—must not tip on to two wheels on a slope less than 28.81 degrees.
      • front and rear longitudinal pitch stability—must not tip on to two wheels on a slope less than 38.65 degrees.

What can government do?

  • Maintain a commitment to fully implementing the full suite of safety measures recommended by the ACCC and contained within the standard by October 11, 2021.
  • Ensure that quad bikes and options for equivalent vehicles from a range of manufacturers continue to be available through financial and regulatory mechanisms, including rebates and subsidies for compliant vehicles and safe alternatives, and supporting parallel imports.

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