A major Australian law firm is calling for tougher quad bike safety regulation.
Maurice Blackburn Lawyers have made a submission to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) stating that tougher safety regulation and better rider training is urgently needed to reduce the high number of quad bike deaths and injuries.
The ACCC put out a call for quad bike stakeholders to have their say regarding safety reform late in 2017 and in the submission the law firm called for the development of a consumer safety ratings system for quad bikes, similar to Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) used for other vehicles.
Maurice Blackburn transport injuries lawyer Danielle De Paoli said a rating system would help consumers make a more informed choice.
“Having a side-by-side comparison of the safety features of quad bikes at the point of sale will allow consumers to make informed decisions as to how they prioritise safety at the various price points in the market,” Ms De Paoli said.
“We believe this will also encourage manufacturers to strive for higher ratings to remain competitive, and encourage importers and distributors to favour more salable products.”
Ms De Paoli said the number of quad bike-related deaths and injuries is “unacceptable” and that many of the victims were children younger than 16.
“An equivalent number of injuries and deaths attributable to one type of machinery would be unacceptable in any other industry,” she said.
“We believe that real change requires a combination of design enhancements and minimum standards, increased consumer education and a national approach to rider training and awareness, as recommended by several coronial inquests.
“That’s why we’re calling for tightened legislation to ensure child safety in relation to quad bikes, including that no child should be allowed to ride a quad bike on public roads and no child should be allowed to ride a quad bike designed for an adult”.
Gunnedah farmer Cathy Smith told Fairfax Media in November that she thought a safety rating for new quad bikes would be a good idea.
“I think a rating system is a very good idea,” Mrs Smith said.
“It would help make safety more uniformed and those manufacturers that don’t meet the higher safety standards would get left behind.
“I would definitely like to see it happen.”
The ACCC is due to make final recommendations on quad bike safety standards in mid-2018.