Quad bikes are now subject to a new safety standard, designed to improve the information and rollover protection available for users, while also increasing the bikes’ stability and performance. Within the next 12 months, all new quad bikes will need to: have a warning label alerting riders to the risk of rollover and meet US or European standards regarding performance of components like brakes, suspension, throttle and the clutch, according to the Australian Government, which announced the standard on 10 October.
Quad bikes will also need to be tested for stability and display the result on a hang tag attached to the bike at the point of sale. Additionally, within the next 24 months, all general-use quad bikes must be fitted or designed with an operator protection device, such as rollbars, and meet minimum stability requirements. Australian Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar said: “Quad bikes are the leading cause of fatalities in Australia of all consumer products that aren’t regulated.”
On average, quad bike accidents have caused 16 deaths per year since 2011 and an estimated six people present to an emergency hospital department each day, with at least two of these admitted with serious injuries, the government said. “This safety standard aims to address the high risk of rollovers, which is especially important for many of our farmers and their families who use these vehicles daily,” Sukkar explained, adding that it will “put the onus on foreign manufacturers to supply safer quad bikes into Australia”.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which called for the standard after consultation with farmers, consumer groups, retailers, manufacturers and health and medical experts, welcomed the changes. “These changes are an important step in improving the safety of quad bikes, and we look forward to working with farmers, manufacturers and retailers to implement the standard,” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said.
The ACCC is also expected to work alongside Standards Australia as the industry develops its own safety specifications for rollbars. Alongside these changes, the ACCC is still urging state and territory governments to continue to support complementary safety measures, such as the use of helmets, protective clothing, prohibiting children from riding adult-sized quad bikes and a continuation of rebate schemes to encourage consumers to fit rollover protection devices to quad bikes currently in use.
Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Steve Lovegrove