QuadWatch is an Australian Government initiative to bring together industry, manufacturers, quad bike users, community organisations, and government to raise awareness of quad bike safety.
QuadWatch aims to raise awareness of safe quad bike practices to provide farmers, quad bike users and the community with practical information and assistance to help minimise risk of a quad bike fatality or injury.
Quad bike fatalities: a snapshot
In the eight years from 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2018:
- There were 128 quad bike fatalities in Australia.
- Almost 11% (14 fatalities) were children aged 11 years of age or under and more than one‑third (43 fatalities) were adults aged 60 years and over.
- Almost half (62 fatalities) were workers.
- Over half (77 fatalities) of all fatalities were the result of a rollover and 78 fatalities occurred on a farm or property. Of the 128 fatalities at least 76 were due to unstable or uneven terrain, for example an incline, ditch, embankment, sand, mud.
Read more quad bike fatality data.
Mandatory safety standard for quad bikes
The Consumer Goods (Quad Bikes) Safety Standard 2019 (Standard) commenced on 11 October 2019. The purpose of the Standard is to prevent or reduce the risk of serious injury and death associated with the use of quad bikes. The mandatory safety standard is based on three elements: improved information for potential purchasers, enhanced quad bike stability, and rollover protection to reduce injuries and deaths.
The Standard sets out mandatory requirements for new and imported second hand quad bikes.
From 11 October 2020, all quad bikes must:
- meet the specified requirements of the US standard for quad bikes, ANSI/SVIA 1-2017, or the European standard, EN 15997:2011
- be tested for lateral static stability and display the angle at which it tips on two wheels on a hang tag to inform purchasing decisions
- have a durable label affixed that is visible and legible when the quad bike is in operation, alerting the operator to the risk of rollover, and
- include rollover safety information in the owner’s manual or information handbook.
From 11 October 2021, all general-use model quad bikes must:
- be fitted with an operator protection device, or have one integrated into its design, and
- meet the minimum stability requirements of:
- lateral stability – a minimum Tilt Table Ratio (TTR) of 0.55 (28.81 degrees), and
- front and rear longitudinal pitch stability – a minimum TTR of 0.8 (38.65 degrees).
For further information visit the Product Safety Australia website.
WHS rules and regulations
Quad bikes used for work are regulated under model WHS laws as plant. The model WHS Act states that people who manage or control plant at a workplace must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the plant is safe. There are obligations to ensure workers are trained, supervised and provided with appropriate information and personal protective equipment to ensure their health and safety, so far as is reasonably practicable.
The WHS Act also places duties on designers, manufacturers, importers and suppliers of plant that is used or may be used at a workplace to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the plant is without risks to health and safety.
The model WHS Regulations have specific requirements for powered mobile plant, which apply to quad bikes. They require the person in charge to manage the risk of the quad bike overturning, and to provide, so far as is practicable, suitable operator protector devices.
Conditional registration for use on public road
Quad bikes do not comply with the Australian Design Rules and so are unable to receive unconditional registration for use on public roads.
If you need to use your quad bike on public roads, such as for travelling between farms, check with your state or territory government department for information about whether they offer conditional registration or licensing.
Work being done nationally to improve quad bike safety
In late 2016, the Australian Government established an interdepartmental committee (IDC) to pursue national initiatives to improve quad bike safety, including to consider coronial recommendations. The IDC is chaired by the Department of Employment and includes representatives from:
- the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development
- the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
- the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
- Safe Work Australia, and
- the Commonwealth, state and territory work health and safety regulators represented by SafeWork NSW, WorkSafe Victoria and WorkSafe Tasmania.
New South Wales
Eligible farmers may receive:
- Up to $2000 for each agricultural side-by-side vehicle.
- Up to $600 for each Quadbar™ or ATV Lifeguard Operator Protective Device.
- Up to $500 for a drone.
- Up to $90 for each compliant helmet.
Eligible farm workers may receive:
- Up to $90 for a compliant helmet.
- Anyone who works for an eligible farmer is also eligible for a place in the free regional and remote training program, which comes with a compliant helmet
More information can be found on SafeWork NSW’s website.
Eligible farmers may receive:
- $1200 for the purchase of an alternate vehicle such as a side-by-side vehicle or a small utility vehicle.
- Up to $600 per device for the purchase of up to two approved operator protection devices. The devices that currently meet the approved criteria are the Quadbar™ and the ATV Lifeguard.
More information can be found on WorkSafe Victoria’s website.
Until 30 June 2020, or when funds run out, eligible farmers may receive:
- up to 50% of the purchase price (to a maximum of $500) for an approved operator/rollover/crush protection device, with a total of $1,000 available for each eligible workplace.
More information can be found on WorkSafe Tasmania’s website.
Coronial inquest findings
NSW Deputy Coroner's Inquest into the death of a child caused by being a passenger on an adult-sized quad bike
An inquest into the NSW death of a child who was a passenger on an adult-sized quad bike, was held by the Deputy State Coroner, Elizabeth Ryan. The State Coroner’s Court of NSW released the findings of the inquest on 9 May 2019.
The Deputy State Coroner made recommendations that consideration be given by the NSW Attorney General to make it a criminal offence for adults to allow children under the age of 16 to ride an adult-sized quad bike and to ride without a helmet, to enable police to enter private property to investigate such offences, to require mandatory licensing prior to the use of an adult-sized quad bike on private property, and for a NSW working group to consider quad bike safety.
NSW Deputy Coroner’s Inquest into nine deaths caused by Quad Bike accidents
An inquest into nine quad bike related deaths in NSW was held by the Deputy State Coroner, Sharon Freund. The State Coroner’s Court of NSW released the findings of the inquest on 26 November 2015.
The Deputy State Coroner made recommendations in the areas of a quad bike safety rating system, Australian Standards for quad bikes, training and licensing, helmet use and standards, crush protection devices, seatbelts use for side-by side vehicles, personal locator beacons, children and quad bikes, advertising and educational campaigns and police investigations.
QLD Deputy Coroner’s Inquest into nine deaths caused by Quad Bike accidents
An inquest into quad bike related deaths in Queensland was held by the Deputy State Coroner, John Lock. The QLD Coroner’s Court released the findings of the inquest on 3 August 2015.
The Coroner stated ‘the evidence gathered during this multiple inquest raises many issues about the safety of quad bikes, including the importance of active riding; good mechanical maintenance; use of correct tyre pressure; use of helmets; disallowing children to ride adult sized quad bikes; understanding the limitations of the vehicle; and that tragic incidents can occur in quite benign conditions’.
New Zealand Coroner recommends consideration of Australia's quad bike safety standard
An inquiry held by Coroner Brigitte Windley found a person had died in 2015 from positional asphyxia after the quad bike she was riding overturned and trapped her underneath.
The Coroner recommended a cross-sector working party to review the work undertaken by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and its recommended safety standard.
New Zealand Inquest into quad bike fatalities
An inquiry into the death of a quad bike user on a New Zealand farm in 2014 was held by Coroner Brigitte Windley. The NZ Coroner released the findings of the inquiry on 9 August 2017.
The Coroner made recommendations in the areas of quad bike safety rating system, crush protection devices, rebate and subsidy schemes for rider training and the purchase and fitting of rollover protection devices, and the purchase of alternative vehicles. The Coroner also suggested a working group be convened and consider a whole-of-government approach to the recommendations made by the coroner.
Research reports and studies
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) - Final recommendation to the Minister
Following an extensive two year investigation into the safety of quad bikes, the ACCC provided the Assistant Treasurer a final report which included its recommendation to make a mandatory safety standard for quad bikes.
The ACCC report provides statistical data on deaths and injuries, previous approaches to improving safety, research on stability, operator protection devices, differentials, suspension and consumer information. The information and evidence was gathered from two formal rounds of public consultation and includes a report from an independent expert commissioned by the ACCC to critically examine all of the evidence, which helped inform the ACCC’s final recommendation.
The Australian Government accepted the ACCC’s recommendation, and on 10 October 2019, made the Consumer Goods (Quad Bikes) Safety Standard 2019. The Final Recommendation and Addendum can be found on the Product Safety Australia website.
Quad bikes in South Australia: an investigation of their use, crash characteristics and associated injury risks
In February 2016 the University of Adelaide's Centre for Automotive Safety Research released the study Quad bikes in South Australia: an investigation of their use, crash characteristics and associated injury risks. The study, sponsored by SafeWork SA, examines the circumstances of fatal and non-fatal quad bike incidents in South Australia.
The report’s recommendations include:
- encouraging farmers to trial and purchase side-by-side vehicles, which are more stable
- regulations to prevent children under the age of 16 from riding adult-sized quad bikes
- promoting the use of personal protective equipment, such as helmets, and
- developing helmets that provide protection, while being suitable for day-to-day work.
NSW Government research
In August 2015 the University of NSW Transport and Road Safety Unit (UNSW TARS) released results of the NSW Government funded Quad Bike Performance Project. As a strategy to reduce injuries and fatalities from quad-bike use on farms, the Quad Bike Performance Project conducted by researchers from UNSW TARS aims to develop a consumer safety rating system for quad bikes.
The five major project reports are available on the University of NSW - Transport and Road Safety website.
Our Guide for managing the risks of machinery in rural workplaces and Quad bikes in rural workplaces Information Sheet provide advice on selecting the most appropriate vehicle for farm needs, information on crush protection devices, rider training, personal protective equipment, and the hazards that should be considered when selecting risk controls.
Related sites for additional quad bike information
- Product Safety Australia
- The Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety
- FarmSafe Australia
- Monash University Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research
- Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries
- New Zealand Worksafe - Quad bike safety
SWA is not a regulator and cannot advise you about quad bike safety and compliance. If you need help, please contact your state or territory work health and safety authority.