Ninety-four per cent of new quad bikes assessed by Australia’s consumer law regulators were compliant with the national safety standard that has been in force since October last year, a nationwide surveillance program has found.
The ACCC worked with state and territory consumer protection and work health and safety agencies to conduct a second annual round of surveillance activities, inspecting over 440 quad bike dealers in the process. Manufacturers and dealers were warned where minor non-compliance issues were found. The ACCC and state and territory consumer protection agencies are investigating a small number of instances where potentially serious non-compliance was identified, including in relation to the safety of the operator protection devices.
“It’s encouraging to see compliance with the standard has improved from 84 per cent in 2021 to 94 per cent this year. It shows that manufacturers and dealers are taking their obligations seriously and have co-operated with our investigations, taking steps to fix problems when necessary,” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said.
“Where we found non-compliance, it was largely due to quad bikes being displayed at the point of sale without age warning labels, rollover warning labels, lateral roll stability tags or owner manuals.”
Tragically, there have been 180 deaths associated with the use of quad bikes since 2011. The number of deaths has reduced significantly since 2020 when there were 24 lives lost in quad bike incidents, to 11 in 2021 and nine so far this year.
“We don’t want to see anyone hurt or killed while riding a quad bike, so we are urging Australians to heed the safety advice and take extra care in areas that have been impacted by recent heavy rain and flooding. Sadly, we see more quad bike accidents happen during the summer holiday period so now is the time to make sure your quad bike is safe, including by fitting operator protection devices,” Mr Keogh said.
Quad bike safety tips
Follow these safety tips when using a quad bike:
- Ensure you are properly trained before you ride a quad bike
- Always wear a helmet
- Never let children ride quad bikes that are meant for adults — even as passengers
- Do not carry any passengers on quad bikes that are meant for one person
- Avoid riding on rough terrain or steep slopes
- Take extra care in wet weather and be aware of obstacles
- Never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Ensure children are supervised at all times near any quad bike activity
- Fit operator protection devices to older quad bikes that were purchased prior to the introduction of the standard.
The standard was introduced in 2019 to improve the safety of quad bikes, which are a leading cause of death and serious injuries on Australian farms. All requirements under the Consumer Goods (Quad Bikes) Safety Standard 2019 came into effect on 11 October 2021.
The standard requires all new and imported second-hand quad bikes offered for sale in Australia, including kids, sports and general-use quad bikes, to:
- meet certain requirements of the United States or European quad bike safety standards
- have a hang tag attached displaying the angle at which that model of quad bike has tipped onto two wheels when tested for stability
- have a rollover warning label
- have an owners’ manual that includes rollover safety information
- have a compliant spark arrestor fitted.
Additionally, all new and second-hand imported general-use quad bikes offered for sale must:
- be fitted with an operator protection device or have one integrated into their design
- meet the minimum stability requirements for lateral roll (sideways) stability
- meet the minimum stability requirements for front and rear longitudinal (forward and back) pitch stability.
In December 2021, the ACCC accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from Crossfire Motorcycles Pty Limited, after it admitted to supplying quad bikes that did not comply with the standard. Fines and penalties may apply for failure to comply with the standard.