FOLLOWING the news two children were killed earlier this month while riding quad bikes, industry leaders are urging parents to ensure the work vehicles are not treated as toys.
According to reports, the boys, aged 7 and 9 were allegedly victims of roll-overs while riding adult-sized quad bikes, also known as all-terrain-vehicles, in separate incidents occurring in Western Australia and Tasmania.
While tragic, these incidents are not uncommon, Safework Australia reported 10 per cent of quad bike fatalities between 2011 and 2018 were children under the age of sixteen,and in total 128 fatalities were recorded in this period, with at least another 7 having occurred this year.
Farmsafe Australia chairman and the National Farmers Federation Workplace Committee chairman Charles Armstrong said children were considered particularly vulnerable on adult sized quad bikes as they did not have sufficient weight or strength to actively ride and control the bikes.
"No children under sixteen years of age should be on adult sized quad bikes. Quads are dangerous, and in many cases lethal, be as vigilant as you possibly can and don't allow children onto adult sized quad bikes, they are not toys," he said.
Related: Safety concerns for quad bike use
The National Farmers Federation has called for the federal government to implement a series of recommendations made by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, aimed at reducing the risk to quad bike operators through a series of product controls.
The report is the result of an ACCC led task force investigation, initiated in 2017 by the then Small Business Minister Michael McCormack and Employment Minister Michaelia Cash.
The report recommended the federal government implement a mandatory safety standard for quad bikes as well as the mandatory fitting of operator protection devices, which are more commonly known as crush protection or roll over protection devices.
Victorian Farmers Federation president and NFF vice president David Jochinke, of Murra Warra, said farmers must uphold quad bike regulations on their farms.
"If you choose to continue using quad bikes on your farm, you should not allow children under 16 to drive or ride as a passenger on any adult-sized quad bikes. These vehicles are simply too heavy and dangerous for children. Please always wear a helmet and ride slowly and sensibly," he said.
"All Victorian farmers can also take advantage of the quad bike safety rebate scheme. Each farm business is eligible for a $1,200 rebate, which can cover half the cost of two crush protection devices.
"Alternatively, if you want to move away from the use of quad bikes on your property, the $1,200 rebate can go towards the cost of buying a side-by-side or small utility vehicle.
"In less than three years, the rebate scheme has received over 4,400 applications and saved Victorian farmers almost $4 million."
Mr Jochinke said farmers wishing to apply for the rebate could contact the VFF on 1300 882 833 or visit the VFF's website.
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox twice weekly from the Wimmera Mail-Times. To make sure you're up-to-date with all the news from across the Wimmera, sign up below.