Mandatory rollover protection looms

22 Sep, 2015 02:00 AM
I can’t see there being a mandatory requirement for CPDs overnight

QUAD bikes will be required to be fitted with mandatory rollover protection devices and users required to wear helmets and undertake training under new compulsory safety laws to be introduced by the federal government.

While the timing of the new laws are unclear, it appears safety regulators are aiming to use a carrot and big stick approach to rein in the appalling safety record of what has become Australia’s most dangerous piece of farm equipment.

Side-by-side vehicles, which have long been promoted as a safer alternative to quads, are also expected to be caught up in the new regulations.

According to the Moree-based Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety headed by Dr Tony Lower, nine out of 10 rollover deaths involve a quad bike.

“In the majority of cases quad bikes are not fit for purpose for the tasks required by farmers. A more suitable vehicle should be used,” the centre says.

“Deaths are evenly distributed between rollovers, where asphyxiation/crush injury are common and non-rollovers where the victim is flung onto a hard surface as a result of a quad bike crash.

“If quad bikes are still to be used as the vehicle of choice, they should be fitted with a suitably tested crush protection device.”

The popular farm machine has overtaken tractors as the leading cause of non-intentional injury death on Australian farms.

It is estimated there are about 320,000 quad bikes in Australia.

Since January 1 there has been 14 quad bike fatalities in Australia including four in Queensland.

Queensland deputy state coroner John Lock said at the conclusion of multiple inquests on August 3 into the safety of quad bikes that one of the issues with the machine was that tragic incidents could occur in benign conditions.

“The evidence gathered during this multiple inquest raises many issues about the safety of quad bikes, including the importance of active riding, good mechanical maintenance, use of correct tyre pressure, use of helmets, disallowing children to ride adult sized quad bikes, understanding the limitations of the vehicle, and that tragic incidents can occur in quite benign conditions,” Mr Lock said.

Clifton-based David Robertson is Australia’s sole manufacturer of crush protection devices (CPD) for quad bikes.

Mr Robertson said while the fitment of CPDs was currently not compulsory, owners were already obligated to take reasonable steps under existing workplace, health and safety laws to ensure quad bikes were safe for users to operate.

“I can’t see there being a mandatory requirement for CPDs overnight,” Mr Robertson said.

“I would imagine there would be a retro program, similar to how ROPS were brought in and eventually made compulsory for tractors.”

Mr Robertson has manufactured and sold about 4000 of his Quadbar brand CPDs in the past six years. The CPDs have been exported to about 10 countries including Israel, which is currently the only country with compulsory CPD laws.

The CPDs which are made from high tensile steel and structural aluminium sell for $627.

Comment is being sought from Safe Work Australia.

Mark Phelps

Mark Phelps

is editor-in-chief of Queensland Country Life
Date: Newest first | Oldest first


26/09/2015 11:59:00 AM

I just spent most of the morning on a quad and didn't kill myself once!
Chick Olsson
26/09/2015 4:36:20 AM

These are the same type of "nanny state" police who also banned fireworks....Please mind your own business and stop interfering in the affairs of others.
Itz Me
25/09/2015 3:21:48 PM

How many are hurt with horses every year, will we have to put a roll bar on them to ? Bubble wrap is the answer, bubble wrap everything, it will lesson the impact for sure.
25/09/2015 1:55:47 PM

More useless paper shufflers trying to destroy agriculture to justify their pointless jobs. Ring your local member and voice your opinion.
23/09/2015 8:04:29 AM

John, you should read the statistics the majority of deaths are juveniles under sixteen not owners riding on flat earth. Have you ever owned or used one? We have thirty thousand klms on the clock and never had an accident or rollover so who are you going to protect. Property owners are sick of academics telling them how to run their business when they have lived off the public purse all their lives.. Should we ban dams waterways and surf because too many avoidable deaths occur? Commonsense supervision and training is what's needed not ridiculous legislation.
23/09/2015 4:17:34 AM

John lambert you are full of it on two main points. Tractors are very different to quads as for all sorts of very obvious reasons and It is in the best interest of the quad bike manufactures to make their bikes safer. Quads are also used in many different ruggered, scrubby areas where the fitting of something high at the back will be very dangerous and many quad deaths are not from comment riders on flat ground doing sensible things.
22/09/2015 7:14:00 PM

John L, I think you may well find that if most deaths and serious injuries with quads are on flat ground , then they won't have been ridden responsibly. I suppose you also think that most motor vehicle accidents on straight flat roads also occur while being driven responsibly. Most accidents, no matter what or where, are usually the end results of some cause. As I said above, when is the nanny state stuff going to require the unprotected pedestrian to be clad in more protection, just for safety.....
John Carpenter
22/09/2015 6:00:16 PM

What's the point of bringing in a law that will not be obeyed and cannot be enforced?If this is going to be federal legislation then why are Nationals supporting it?What's next,a license to ride a horse?
John Lambert
22/09/2015 12:35:54 PM

This in not nanny state stuff! Nor are CPD's dangerous - that assertion comes from research by John Zellner that the FCAI and manufacturers rely on. Quad bike manufacturers should supply quads with CPD's - would add hardly anything to the cost. CPD's are no different to the roll bars required on tractors without a cabin designed to prevent injuries in a rollover/ tipover. For the uniformed above most deaths and serious injuries occur while quads are being ridden responsibly. AND they occur on flat ground!
22/09/2015 12:00:15 PM

I use my quad for getting into difficult spots to trap feral dogs and to check the traps every day....put a roll over device on my quad and no more trapping for me....stupid government boffins
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