QUAD bikes are dangerous and fatalities caused by their use remain above the long-term average, according to the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety.
So far in 2014 there has been nine deaths on quad bikes, one most recently a Brisbane man who was crushed by a quad bike on a property near Kyogle.
In 2013, there were 21 deaths, well above the current 10-year average of 13, according to the centre's director Dr Tony Lower.
According to the centre's research, quad bike accidents are the leading cause of death on Australian farms, outranking tractor rollovers by a factor of two to one.
Dr Lower added that the number of deaths was only the tip of the iceberg in terms of community impact of quad-bike related incidents.
"Not only is there a large number of deaths (in 2013), there was also a further 78 injuries which were serious enough to result in press coverage. These are often life-hanging incidents such as spinal and brain injuries," Dr Lower said.
The manager of one Lismore motorcycle shop who did not want to be named said the biggest issue with quad bikes was people getting on them without any training.
"Quad bikes aren't necessarily dangerous as long as people have had the training," the manager said.
"You're sitting on it, rather than in it - you've got a higher centre of gravity.
"It just comes down to a lack if training."
Quad bike safety tips
- NEVER allow children under 16 years to ride adult quad bikes
- NEVER carry passengers unless it has additional seats (two deaths this year involved passengers being thrown from the bike).
- DO take a quad bike training course
- ALWAYS wear a helmet and protective equipment.
- DO NOT ride on unfamiliar terrain, rough terrain or steep slopes, especially when carrying cargo or towing.
- DO use "active riding" techniques, including keeping the quad bike in low gear while descending slopes.
- CONSIDER adding a crush protection device if possible or buying a quad bike with one already fitted.
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