Government introduces new quad bike safety standard

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of the Workplace Health and Safety profession. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Monday, 31 August, 2020 - 09:45
Policy & legislation
National News

The Federal Government has introduced a new quad bike safety standard, the first stage of which takes effect on 11 October this year.

“Quad bikes are an important part of rural life but the ongoing fatalities and serious injuries are incredibly concerning. They highlight the importance of this new safety standard,” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said.

“For many years, manufacturers have been claiming rider behaviour is the major reason for the number of deaths and injuries. Their aim has been to shift the focus away from the unsafe design of quad bikes.

“The truth of the matter is, the inherent instability of quad bikes causes them to frequently roll over. It has been reported that at least eight of the fatalities so far this year involved rollovers, with four of them resulting in crush injuries,” Keogh said.

The safety standard has two stages:

Stage 1: 11 October 2020 – all new quad bikes, and directly imported second-hand quad bikes must:

  • meet the specified requirements of the US quad bike Standard, ANSI/SVIA 1-2017 or the EN 15997:2011 Standard
  • be tested for lateral static stability using a tilt table test and display the angle at which they tip onto two wheels on a hang tag at the point of sale
  • have a durable label affixed, visible and legible when the quad bike is in operation, alerting the operator to the risk of rollover, and must include rollover safety information in the owner’s manual.


Stage 2: 11 October 2021 – all new and directly imported second hand general-use model quad bikes must:

  • be fitted with, or have integrated into the design, an operator protection device
  • meet minimum stability requirements of lateral stability

In the first six months of 2020, 14 people, including three children, have died in quad bike-related accidents in Australia, compared to eight in the whole of last year.

Quad bike accidents are the leading cause of death and severe injuries on Australian farms. Since 2011, 150 people have died from quad bike-related accidents, 23 of whom have been children.

In addition, six people present to the hospital each day as a result of quad bike-related injuries.

The design limitations of quad bikes mean many people – including experienced, mature operators – are getting seriously injured or killed, despite operating them in line with the vehicles’ marketed uses.

Research from the University of New South Wales indicates that almost half of quad bike accidents involved riders who had 20 or more years of experience operating them, while less than two per cent of accidents involved an operator with less than three years’ experience.

“As 11 October draws closer, misinformation and scare campaigns from groups opposed to the new safety standard have ramped up, and that’s been very disappointing to see,” Keogh said.

“Top of the list is the suggestion that because some quad bike manufacturers have threatened to stop selling in Australia due to the new safety requirements, farmers will lose a critical piece of farm machinery.

“If a manufacturer withdraws from Australia, others will willingly step in to provide the safer quad bikes.

“We’ve also heard nonsense claims that improved quad bike stability and rollover protection devices, as required under the safety standard, will increase fatalities as riders will have a false sense of security.”

“If this argument was applied to the design of cars, none of the modern safety features would be available, and the nearly 70 per cent decline in road fatalities since the mid-1970s would not have occurred.”