Quad Biking: Tips and Resources
Links and information for quad bike riders: regulations, safety and other resources
A quad bike (also known as an all-terrain vehicle or ATV) is an off-road motorised vehicle that travels on four wheels, with a seat designed to be straddled by the operator and handlebars for steering control. All vehicles that meet this description, including those that are propelled by a combustion engine and an electric engine, are considered to be quad bikes.
There are three categories of quad bikes:
- general use models (commonly marketed as utility, work or agricultural models)
- youth models (also marketed as fun models) and transition models
- sports models.
Source: Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
Improving the safety of quad bikes was identified as a priority in 2019 by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
Quad bikes are inherently unstable and 145 Australians have died in accidents associated with quad bikes since 2011.
The new standard was introduced to reduce the risk of injury to consumers that operate a quad bike for work or recreation. It was developed after a two year investigation by the ACCC found that the current designs of quad bikes, in particular general-use model quad bikes (marketed as utility quad bikes), are not safe for their foreseeable uses and misuses. READ MORE
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)
Product Safety Factsheet
A quad bike has no specific definitions or rules in the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 or the Queensland Road Rules. A quad bike therefore currently falls under the definition of a car. A class C driver licence is required to ride a quad bike on roads or road-related areas.
Quad bikes are catered for under the conditional registration scheme and require a police permit when ridden on the road network. The permit can contain conditions such as compulsory helmet wearing. More information is available on the conditional registration page.
There are many concerns about the dangerous use of these vehicles in a recreational setting. It is mandatory for quad bike riders to wear an approved motorcycle helmet when the vehicle is operating on a road or road related area. If the quad bike is capable of carrying more than one person, the passengers must also wear an approved motorcycle helmet. These vehicles however are often used on private properties where the road rules do not apply.
The Statewide Plan for Improving Quad Bike Safety in Queensland 2016 – 2019 (the plan) is a key initiative to raise awareness of the risks associated with quad bike use and enhance operator skill and safety.
The plan focuses on three key priorities:
1. Community education and awareness about quad bike safety risks.
2. Improving quad bike operator skill and safety.
3. Government leadership in promoting quad bike safety
Source: Workplace Health and Safety
Rules & Regulations (Safe Work Australia)
Every year quad bikes are a major cause of death and serious injury in rural workplaces with many incidents associated with rollovers.
The risk of a rollover increases if the quad bike is crossing slopes, travelling at high speed, towing an attachment, travelling over rocky or uneven ground or carrying a heavy or unstable load, for example chemicals for spraying.
Top safety tips:
- choose the right vehicle for the job
- riders must be physically able to control the vehicle, trained and wear a helmet
- don’t let children ride adult bikes.
Persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) must ensure:
- a quad bike is the right tool for the task
- a helmet and other personal protective equipment, such as gloves and eye protection is supplied
- never let children under 16 ride adult-sized quad bikes
- proper instruction and training is provided and understood by the rider.
The quad bike’s fitness for purpose should be assessed prior to its use. Consider whether:
- there is another item of farm machinery that could provide a safer operation, i.e. a side-by-side vehicle, small tractor or utility
- fitting equipment (such as crush protection devices) that will minimise the risk of injury from possible rollover
- the quad bike is maintained to manufacturer’s specifications, including equipment such as brakes are working and tyres are inflated to the correct pressure
- all guards are in place, particularly foot plates
- all controls are adjusted so they can be operated comfortably and safely when seated.
Quad bike operators should:
- always wear a helmet and other personal protective equipment, such as gloves and eye protection
be trained or have sufficient experience before operating a quad bike, particularly when riding on steep slopes, at speed or with attachments
- complete a quad bike training course
- never allow passengers on the quad bike unless it has been specifically designed to carry two people
have sufficient strength, weight and agility to operate safely and to react quickly to changing terrain or conditions
- be aware of heat stress, fatigue or other limiting conditions which may affect concentration while operating a quad bike.
Be aware of the risk of:
- being struck by an object
- striking an object hidden by long grass such as logs and rocks, location of drains and other hazards
- a leg being caught in rear tyre, chain or foot rest
- attachments or loads being too heavy, unequally distributed or not secure
- the risks posed by poor maintenance of brakes, suspension and tyres.
eSafe Incident Alert
The Ride Ready campaign aims to reduce the rate of quad bike deaths and injuries and is part of the Statewide plan for improving quad bike safety in Queensland 2016 – 2019. The plan was developed by the Queensland Government as an initiative to raise awareness of the risks associated with quad bike use and improve rider’s safety skills.
Source: Workcover Queensland
For information and resources on:
- Incidents, injuries and key risk factors
- The Ride Ready challenge
- Safety: kids, helmets, training, loads
- Resources: videos, posters
A far north Queensland man may have invented the most practical way to stop quad bike accidents and deaths.
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