Quad bikes are the leading cause of fatalities in Australia of all consumer products that aren’t subject to an Australian design, safety or performance standard. There have been about 130 quad bike related fatalities in Australia since 2011, which equates to more than one a month. Six people daily are taken to emergency departments, with at least two of those admitted with serious injuries. This costs the Australian economy at least $200 million per year on top of the pain and suffering of the individuals and families affected by these deaths and injuries.
In its report, the ACCC has recommended a new safety standard which ensures key safety information is provided to consumers to better inform their decision making and raise the awareness of the risks posed by quad bikes. The safety standard would also provide a minimum level of stability for general-use model quad bikes and require an operator protection device to be fitted or integrated into the design to reduce the number of deaths and the severity of injury in the event of a rollover.
This proposed safety standard would apply to the future supply of quad bikes in Australia following a transition period. Operator protection devices would only be required for general-use quad bikes and not sport models or youth and transition models. There would be a two year transition period for the general-use model quad bikes to meet the specific design requirements and one year transition period for all the other requirements.
Extensive consultation has been undertaken including with technical experts, farmers, the recreational and tourism sector, consumer groups, health and medical experts, industry and government bodies. The majority of stakeholders support a new mandatory safety standard. The ACCC’s report highlights how these safety measures including installing an operator protection device can significantly reduce the frequency and severity of injuries, particularly from rollover incidents.
The Government is inviting stakeholders to review and comment on the ACCC’s recommended safety standard. To find out more on how to make a submission, please visit the consultation page. Submissions are open until 10 June.
I further seek comment from Stakeholders on the role State Governments should play including enforcing the wearing of helmets and safety gear and making it illegal for children to ride adult quad bikes in other than supervised sporting events.
I thank the ACCC for its thorough analysis and for identifying practical recommendations for improving quad bike safety.