Australia’s ATV industry is urging State and territory governments to adopt the recommendations of previous Coronial inquests in order to fast-track better safety for ATV riders.

The ATV industry and its representative body, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, have been long-term and firm advocates of keeping children under 16 years of age off adult-sized ATVs (quad bikes).  These full-sized vehicles were never designed to be used by children.

Warning labels on ATVs, safety information in the owner’s manual and freely available industry safety materials have been completely clear about the industry’s position prohibiting children riding adult-sized ATVs. 

A recent tragic incident further underscored the importance of State and territory governments pushing forward with appropriate legislation to prevent misconceptions around Coronial rulings on this issue, and to give parents the best possible safety advice.

The facts were further clouded this week when a press release issued by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) misinterpreted the Coronial findings.

Contrary to the RACS statement, neither the NSW Coroner (the outcomes are viewable here) nor the Queensland Coroner (with the outcomes viewable here) made any recommendation about children being banned from youth-sized, or ‘age appropriate’ ATVs.

In fact, the Queensland Coroner used North American ATV industry positions and advice to inform his recommendation for under 16 riders’ use of ATVs.

At the conclusion of these separate inquests, both Coroners also requested that the work safety agencies in these states and Safe Work Australia promote awareness around the dangers of allowing children to ride adult-sized ATVs.   In this context, it is worth noting that Work Health and Safety Queensland has been active with the ATV industry on outlining these dangers at farm expos and shows.

The FCAI and ATV industry are urging state and territory governments to:

  1. Impose an immediate ban on all riders under the age of 16 from operating adult-sized ATVs.
  2. Mandate the continuous adult supervision of all under 16 riders (riding age appropriate ATVs).
  3. Work with the ATV industry on delivering key safety messages to the community, including the industry’s 5 Star Safety Guide to improve outcomes for all ATV users and to urge all riders to wear helmets.