A confronting new television ad campaign to highlight the importance of quad bike safety will be screened across regional NSW in a bid to halt the alarming increase in quad bike deaths and injuries.
The campaign includes two real-life stories, one about Tamworth’s Amber Thomas who sustained severe facial injuries in an accident when she was just 14.
Amber was riding a quad bike to the end of her driveway to catch the school bus when it flipped, leaving her trapped underneath.
“I was trapped under the quad for about 45 minutes, and my whole jaw had moved to the side,” Amber said.
“I was screaming and yelling but couldn’t get words out. I was lucky to be alive.”
Farmer Graham Brown, 70, hit a piece of wood on his Orange property in 2015 and rolled his quad bike, narrowly escaping serious injuries.
NSW Innovation and Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean said there needed to be a “cultural change” among farmers about the safe use of quad bikes.
“We can issue all the advice in the world but at the end of the day unless farmers change their attitudes we won’t see much change in these quad bike injuries and deaths. What we need to see is a cultural change. We’ve seen five deaths this year involving quad bikes and that is tragic. I won’t rest until that figure each year is zero.”
Mr Kean promised new initiatives in the next few weeks to bring home the message on quad bike safety. The regional television ads are part of a $2 million campaign to improve safety, with training courses and rebates on quad bike safety refits and free helmets for people who complete safety training already part of the safety program.
Mr Kean wouldn’t comment on how NSW was doing in the area compared to other states, but said the federal Minister for Employment Michaelia Cash was looking closely at what NSW was doing, indicating it would be worth replicating in other states.
“These new television ads are designed to make people think twice about the way they use quad bikes,” Matt Kean said.
“Quad bikes are not toys. People need to prioritise safety when using these vehicles, especially when it comes to young people.
“The last thing anyone wants to see is another person seriously injured or killed as a result of a quad bike incident. This is about keeping people as safe as possible.”
The Government recently announced free training and a free helmet for those who complete a quad bike safety course.