21 May 2015
New Zealand surgeons are urging the Government to ban the use of
quad bikes by children under the age of 16, following comments by
the Children's Commissioner that voluntary guidelines are not
The Chair of Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) New
Zealand Trauma Committee, Mr Li Hsee, says major injuries from quad
bikes have been steadily increasing with increasing sales.
"Contrary to their common name, all-terrain vehicles are not
suitable for use in all terrains.
"Despite having four wheels, quad bikes have a high centre of
gravity and a narrow wheelbase, making them unstable.
Most injuries and deaths involve the bike rolling onto the rider
and can occur at low speeds," Mr Hsee said.
A study published recently in the New Zealand Medical Journal
showed that a significant number of children were hospitalised
every year due to preventable injuries caused by quad bikes.
Mr Hsee is an experienced trauma surgeon at Auckland City
Hospital, and frequently deals with the consequences of quad bike
"Quad bikes are not toys; they leave very little room for rider
error - a lack of judgement, a lack of skill, or even a lack of
body mass and physical strength, can result in death or serious
This places children at a distinct disadvantage when operating
these vehicles," Mr Hsee said.
Statistics show that there is a strong correlation between the
age and weight of a person injured in a quad bike accident and the
severity of the injuries that they will sustain.
"The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons has a strong history
in regard to trauma prevention and around quad bikes in particular,
and has championed many initiatives that have saved countless
Surgeons are often on the front lines of these trauma injuries
and we see first-hand the horrific damage that quad bike accidents
cause to children," Mr Hsee said.
"Every child that is injured or killed in a quad bike accident
is a tragedy.
"Such deaths could be completely avoided if restrictions were
put in place that reflected the danger that these machines pose to
young riders, so we must ensure that children are not exposed to
death or serious injury by being given access to adult-sized quad
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