QUAD bike safety is under the spotlight again after a study by the Medical Journal of Australia in Victoria revealed patterns in numerous accidents associated with the popular farm vehicles.
Researchers from the Monash Injury Research Institute and Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety reviewed quad bike injuries, deaths, hospital admissions and emergency department presentations in Victoria over the nine years to June 2011.
There were 19 fatal incidents, with about 800 hospital admissions and an additional 800 emergency department presentations.
Professor Tony Lower, Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety director and co-author, said the review clearly identified the extent of deaths and injuries associated with quad bikes.
“We also believe that this is an under-estimate of the true numbers as the emergency department records represent only the 38 hospitals across Victoria that have emergency departments operating on a 24-hour basis,” he said.
“Over half the deaths involved on-farm use of quads, with trunk and head, neck and face injuries accounting for most cases.
“Collisions with stationary objects (42 percent) followed by rollovers (32pc) were the most common causes of death. While almost half the deaths involved individuals aged over 45 years, children also featured in 16pc of cases.”
Mr Lower said falls from quads were the most common cause of both hospital admissions and presentations to Victorian emergency departments, with fractures accounting for half of all admissions.
Children made up 20pc of admitted cases and 32pc of emergency department presentations.
The review recommended selecting the safest vehicle for the task to be undertaken, and that in the vast majority of cases that would not be a quad.
But if a quad bike was still to be used, it recommended a suitably tested crush protection device be fitted.
The study said keeping children off quads of any size, not carrying passengers, staying within load limits, training and wearing a helmet were also important preventive actions.