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Quad bikes

A quad bike can be defined as 'any motorised off-highway vehicle designed to travel on four low pressure tyres, having a seat designed to be straddled by the operator and handlebars for steering control, and intended use by a single operator and no passenger'.   Give their unique characteristics and use, Quad bikes have been acknowledged as a major cause of death and serious injuries each year with most incidents caused by sideway and backward rollovers where the rolling vehicle may strike and injure and/or pin the rider under its weight.

Risks

When assessing the risks involved with using quad bikes the characteristics of the vehicle should be considered including the vehicles:

  • centre of gravity—usually high
  • track width—usually narrow
  • wheelbase—usually short
  • length of travel suspension—usually long
  • tyre pressure—usually low.

As well, risk arises from the nature of the task including:

  • rider struck by an object, for example, an overhanging branch
  • rollover from striking an object or the terrain being too steep
  • leg of rider being caught in rear tyre, chain or foot rest
  • loads too heavy, unequally distributed or not secured properly
  • rider inexperience with the effects of slope, speed or weight distribution
  • unrestrained or ineffectively restrained tools
  • fatigue
  • poor maintenance of brakes and suspension

Remedy

Quad bikes may not be the best vehicle for the variety of tasks undertaken in the workplace and so replacement with a more suitable alternative vehicle may be called for. If quad bikes are considered suitable then crush protection devices are available that may assist to protect the rider in the event of a rollover. As research is continuing into the effectiveness of these devices they are not mandatory at present. Regardless of whether a PCBU chooses to fit an operator protective device, it must manage the risks of vehicle rollover occurring through a combination of vehicle selection, instruction and training, and safe use of attachments.

Training quad bike riders will help them understand the risks and safe use of the quad bike and attached equipment. Rider training should be workplace or task specific with more general training provided by a manufacturer or industry training provider. A combination of general and job specific training will help enable riders to operate a quad bike competently and safely.

It is important riders are provided with, understand and implement the operating instructions of the quad bike's manufacturer.

Other control measures should include:

  • always wearing a properly fitting helmet which meets an appropriate standard
  • not allowing passengers on the quad bike
  • not allowing any child under the age of 16 to ride a quad bike
  • not allowing anybody to operate a quad bike who has not had adequate training and instruction
  • ensuring all guards are in place, particularly foot plates
  • providing the rider with an effective communication system when carrying out work in a remote or isolated location.

Resources

Information SourceContents
Code of Practice - How to Manage Work Health and Safety RisksThis code provides practical guidance for persons who have duties under the WHS Act and Regulations to manage risks to health and safety
Quad bikes in the Comcare scheme Current resources on managing quad bike risk and links to useful sites
Draft model Code of Practice – Managing risks of plant in rural workplacesWhile NOT an approved Code of Practice this draft is included for the purposes of general guidance
Comcare - Guide to incident notificationHelps you decide whether you need to notify Comcare of an injury, illness or dangerous incident under the WHS Act
Quad Bike Performance Project—Transport and Road Safety Research, University of NSWPublic access to research on the safety performance of quad bikes released 3 August 2015
Page last updated: 31 Mar 2016