Quad bike-related death inquest begins

ONE 94-year-old farmer's vehicle of choice is a quad bike, a coronial inquest has heard.

During the third and final phase of the inquest into quad bike-related deaths, a University of NSW road safety professor praised the elderly man's efforts but said many people were using quad bikes unnecessarily.

The inquest before Queensland Deputy Coroner John Lock began in August 2014 and is aimed at determining safety recommendations to prevent quad bike-related deaths.

Counsel assisting the coroner Peter De Waard said there were up to 200 quad bike-related deaths in the past 11 years.

He said about half the deaths occurred in the workplace and half in a recreational setting.

There have been two quad bike-related deaths in Queensland this year.

"The majority of the deaths occur on farms," Mr De Waard said.

"Too many children under the age of 16 are dying - around 20% of the total fatalities."

He said quad bike roll-overs accounted for about 70% of off-road deaths.

During the previous phase the inquest focused on training, helmets and passenger and child safety.

Mr De Waard said the focus of this phase would be on operator protective devices, safety and engineering design standards and mitigation devices to stop quads rolling over.

The inquest is also considering increasing consumer awareness and potentially using a star rating system.

Prof Raphael Grzebieta is part of a team researching the rating system.

Prof Grzebieta used the 94-year old as an example of people using the wrong vehicles.

"I think it would have been preferable for him to be riding around in a side-by-side with seatbelts."

Side-by-side vehicles are small two-person off-road vehicles.

Prof Grzebieta compared the side-by-sides with quads as part of the rating system to highlight the safest vehicles for the tasks.

He found the side-by-sides had "become invaluable" on farms.

Prof Grzebieta also recommended potential quad bike buyers be told they needed to do a training course.

He said police needed to add more details about deaths and the industry needed more feedback.

The inquest in Brisbane Coroner's Court continues this week.

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