NSW Labor says it will consider introducing laws preventing kids under 16 from getting on adult-sized quad bikes as riders or passengers, in the wake of a number child deaths and injuries associated with the vehicle.
Mandatory helmet use and safety training would also be part of the Opposition’s quad bike safety push heading to the 2019 election, while it has urged State and Federal government to address quad bike deaths as an issue beyond the farm gate.
State government, meanwhile, says it is already in discussions with its Federal counterparts on the topic, meeting with Senator Michalea Cash last week.
Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair also announced a new research project into quad safety through the Department of Primary Industries and SafeWork NSW, while in recent months government has also increased safety equipment rebates, and scrapped training costs.
Labor propose age restrictions
There have been 13 quad bike deaths in Australia since 2011, with 32 deaths in NSW alone – including kids as young as seven.
Last month a Quad Bike Workplace Safety Survey, carried out by a team from the University of NSW Transport and Road Safety Centre, showed one in two riders has crashed their vehicle – and two-thirds of those crashes have been rollovers – spurring state government to lobby for Federal action.
A Labor-organised quad bike safety roundtable at NSW Parliament on Monday featured medical, farm industry, and rural lobby groups, as well as the Federal chamber of Automotive Industries and Vehicle manufacturers. Labor said government declined an invitation to the event.
Labor said age restrictions for adult bikes emerged as a key plank in reducing deaths, with the party considering the introduction of legislation into NSW Parliament, bringing in a minimum age under which adult quad bikes could neither be driven nor ridden on as a passenger.
“While we welcome the Government assistance to famers and farm workers – this is ignoring the broader issue of young kids getting killed on quad bikes,” Opposition Primary Industries spokesman Mick Veitch said.
“We have manufacturers saying that kids under 16 years should not be riding adult quad bikes, yet this is not backed up by legislation.
“The Government had failed to comprehend the broader issues around quad bike fatalities and were simply looking at it as an on farm issue, and it was time for the issue of age restrictions to be considered by Parliament.”
Other issues raised at the roundtable was the need for mandatory helmet use as well as education and training over the safe use of quad bikes.
NSW government says it is working with the feds
Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair said the research project between NSW DPI and SafeWork NSW would help shape future safety measures.
“We’re committed to doing everything we can to reduce injuries on farms and make sure landholders are fully equipped with both the knowledge and tools they need to operate quad bikes safely,” Mr Blair said.
“I would encourage any quad bike users to take part in this opportunity which will help us understand how we can ensure injury rates drop as close to zero as possible.”
Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said that “while Labor was busy talking, the government was taking strong action, by investing in a range of quad bike initiatives”.
“In the past three months, we have increased our rebates, scrapped training costs and launched a confronting advertising campaign as part of a $2 million program,” he said.
“I welcome any action that helps us understand attitudes toward quad bike safety on farms and look forward to working with the commonwealth after our successful meeting with Senator Cash.”
The project will begin later this month and interviews will be conducted with quad bike users from a range of backgrounds.
To register interest in participating in the research program, click this link.