National quad bike safety ratings to be introduced

Australia is set to have its first standardised safety rating system for quad bikes, as figures again show the four-wheelers are the highest killers of the nation’s workers.

Consumers affairs ministers from around Australia and New Zealand agreed to introduce a national five-star safety rating system for quad bikes during a forum in Melbourne.

"There have been over 200 quad bike related deaths in Australia since 2001 and 64 per cent of those have occurred on farms, which makes quad bikes the highest killer of workers in Australia," NSW Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean said.

"Every year there are over 1400 people that are seriously injured as a result of quad-bike accidents.”

Among the deaths are that of a 54-year-old, who died after a quad bike accident on a property near Gundagai in 2016 and a seven-year-old boy who died after an incident at Barellan in January 2017.

Mr Kean said the ministers agreed to support all necessary steps to expedite the regulatory impact assessment processes, to introduce the rating system and associated safety standards.

The move will be welcomed by the organisations like NSW Farmers and the Country Women’s Association, which have been pushing for improvements to quad bike safety.

Alan Brown of Wagga’s NSW Farmers group said legislation which provided clear, concise guidelines and ratings on safety was welcome.

NSW Farmers has been promoting the quad bike safety improvement program, which provides rebates worth up to $1000 to farmers who install certain safety devices.

Mr Brown said NSW Farmers was also continuing to push for quad bike riders to “look after themselves” with installation of safety features like roll bars, use of helmets and not allowing children younger than 16 to ride.

“A target has been set to drive down quad bike-related deaths and serious injuries in NSW to zero by 2020, but it will take a community effort to achieve this goal,” CWA State president Annette Turner said.

The CWA is on the Quad Bike Industry Action Group.