2 August 2015
The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) is calling on
the Queensland Government to act swiftly on the recommendations
handed down by a coronial inquest into quad bike deaths.
The inquest examined the deaths of nine Queenslanders aged from
nine to 86 between March 2012 and January 2014 with the aim of
making safety recommendations that would help prevent quad
bike-related deaths. Three of the deaths were children.
Queensland head of the RACS Trauma Committee Richard Lewandowski
says major trauma injuries from quad bikes have also been on the
rise across Australia, from 26 in 2010 to 51 in 2012.
"Of the 111 major injuries that occurred from 2010-2012, more
than a quarter of the riders were less than 25 years of age," Dr
"In the space of a fortnight in June last year, six people were
flown to hospital in southern Queensland following quad bike
crashes. For each quad bike fatality, there are an additional 40
hospital admissions and 40 emergency department presentations.
"Quad bikes are inherently unstable and leave very little room
for rider error. Children, who are often more inexperienced and
careless than older riders, can end up dead or disabled as a
"This is a devastating outcome for lack of judgement, lack of
knowledge, lack of skill, or even lack of body mass and physical
strength, all of which are more common in younger riders."
Research shows that most injuries and deaths involve the bike
rolling onto the rider and can occur at low speeds.
Dr Lewandowski believes that design approaches to improve the
safety of quad bikes in terms of stability and protection in the
event of a rollover should be prioritised.
"We urge the Government to consider all available strategies to
prohibit children under the age of 16 from riding adult quad
bikes," Dr Lewandowski said.
"We also recommend the Government implement an Australasian New
Quad Bike Assessment Program, identical in essence to the ANCAP
safety rating, which would allow customers to choose the safest
"The improvements to vehicle safety delivered by the ANCAP star
rating system are undeniable, and a rating system adapted for quad
bikes would deliver similar improvements, save lives, and reduce
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