Dairy farmer Paul Weir, of Tuncester, outside Lismore, believes the latest push for mandatory safety rules governing quad-bikes, such as roll-bars and the wearing of crash helmets, will prove impractical for many users of the popular machines.
Dairy farmer Paul Weir, of Tuncester, outside Lismore, believes the latest push for mandatory safety rules governing quad-bikes, such as roll-bars and the wearing of crash helmets, will prove impractical for many users of the popular machines. Cathy Adams

Push to make quad-bikes safer

HIS quad-bike is an essential tool which dairy farmer Paul Weir uses every day on his property at Tuncester, north of Lismore.

He is concerned efforts to mandate roll-bars on the bikes and the wearing of crash helmets won’t be practical.

Mr Weir was responding to recommendations released last week by the workplace safety group, Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities (HWSA), calling for the wearing of helmets on quad-bikes be made mandatory.

While the HWSA did not recommend the mandatory fitting of roll-bars, the NSW Farmers’ Association did in response to the recommendations.

“We are on our quad-bike all the time mustering and moving cows, bringing herds to the dairy and moving fences,” Mr Weir said.

“It’s one of the most valuable pieces of machinery to have on a dairy farm and they are used more and more now for fertilising and stock spraying.”

Mr Weir admits he’s had a few near-misses while riding his quad-bike, and says he fully understands and agrees quad-bike safety is a concern, but says wearing a helmet and having a roll-bar is not practical.

“The beauty of the bikes is they are nimble and agile,” Mr Weir said.

“(Roll-bars are) nowhere near practical on a dairy farm, when you are ducking under single-wire electric fences and tree branches.”

In relation to the wearing of safety helmets, Mr Weir said heat was the biggest issue for Northern Rivers farmers.

“They are just too hot here in summer,” he said.

“When you are travelling slowly behind cows, with the heat of the bike coming up, that’s impractical.”

A spokesperson for the HWSA said: “While some of these measures may not be popular, we believe they are essential if we are to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities from on-farm use of quad-bikes.”

 

Quad-bike accidents

  • More than 130 killed since 2000.
  • Quad-bike accidents are the most commonly reported on-farm accidents causing injury or death.

So far this year (to May 23):

  • Quad-bike related deaths: 12
  • Quad-bike related injuries: 25


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