New quad bike laws in Queensland making it illegal for children under eight to be carried as passengers have been heralded as a positive step towards enhanced on-farm safety by the Primary Industries Health and Safety Partnership (PIHSP).
The laws came in to effect on February 1 and also prohibit children under eight travelling as passengers in utility off-road vehicles that are used on any road.
Additionally, the legislation requires all Queensland quad bike and utility off-road operators and passengers wear a motorbike helmet. Failing to comply could mean the loss of licence points or a fine of $365.
PIHSP advisory chair Patrick Murphy said the move was a welcome one.
“The incidence of loss of life and minor to serious injury as a result of quad bike use on farms is all too common,” Mr Murphy said.
“Any steps to ensure the safety of the people who work or are involved in the agricultural sector and rely on the use of quad bikes are positive, especially when it comes to the younger generation.
“Safe Work Australia statistics show that from 2011 to 2015 there were 97 quad bike fatalities in Australia and eight of those were children under 10-years-old.”
Recent research based on media coverage from 2016 by the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety indicates of the 63 on-farm injury deaths last year, six were caused by quads. 
The research also found that of the 85 non-fatal farm incidents highlighted in the media in the past 12 months, 43 involved quad bikes.
The new Queensland laws also state that children of any age can’t be carried as passengers in off-road vehicles if they are unable to sit with their feet flat on the floor and hands securely on handholds.
In 2016, Victoria became the first state to require mandatory rollover protection to be fitted to quad bikes used in the workplace.
PIHSP Tips for Safe Quad Bike Operation: Always wear a helmet. Keep children younger than 16 off quad bikes. Make sensible choices about terrain and environmental conditions. Make sensible choices based on the rider’s ability and the machine. Attend a training course.
For more information about the partnership, visit www.rirdc.gov.au/PIHSP
 Australian Farm Deaths and Injuries, Media Monitor Snapshot, January 1 – December 31, 2016, Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety
PHOTO CAPTION: New laws in Queensland mean that kids under eight must “turn their backs” on quad bikes, even as passengers.
(Click on the image above to download a high resolution version)