Inaction on quad safety is not an option

The Land says: Inaction on quad safety not an option


Opinion
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Australians continue to suffer tragic injuries while riding quad bikes, at an all-too-common rate.

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“DON’T blame the quad bike, it was clearly made as a single seater.”

“What about horses? Ban them too because people get killed riding them.”

“And spoons make people fat.”

“Ban knives too then… this world is producing a society of irresponsible idiots.”

“Cars and two-wheeled motorbikes as well.”

“You are clearly insisting on ruining my life by encouraging this ridiculous campaign to ban quad bikes.”

The above comments - made on The Land’s social media over the past week – tell us that quad bikes remain a beloved farm vehicle. It also tells us people don’t like being told what they can do on their own property, with their own gear, in their own time.

But nothing can paper over the fact Australians continue to suffer tragic injuries while riding quad bikes, at an all-too-common rate.

More than 110 have died while riding the vehicle between 2011 and now – with quads also very much over-represented in farm injury statistics. Each of those deaths rocks a circle of family, friends, and the wider farming community.

And we’re sure that if given the chance to improve safety and prevent a crash, those touched by a tragedy would advise it. 

Crucially, the bulk of quad incidents happen during seemingly innocuous activities on private land – not while hooning on public roads or doing stunts.

Yes, there are many machines, animals, and infrastructure on farms that have the potential to result in death and injury. But it seems common sense that you would look at ways to stop incidents if they kept occurring in fairly routine circumstances. 

No doubt the argument on the safest way forward will continue. Will this mean stricter age, licensing, and education measures? Manufacturing changes? Better safety equipment? Promotion of safer alternate vehicles? 

Whichever way, the continued loss of life means inaction is not an option. 

Government and farm groups seem to recognise this – with the state’s quad safety rebate doubled, training resources ramped up, and NSW Farmers president Derek Schoen highlighting an ambitious working group target to cut injuries to zero within five years. 

We welcome continued debate on the issue of quad bike safety. But the preservation of human life needs to be at the centre. 

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