9 Mar 2017

Call for quad bike ban for under-16s

3:16 pm on 9 March 2017

The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons is urging the New Zealand and Australian governments to ban the use of quad bikes by children under 16, following the death of a six-year-old girl in New South Wales.

The young girl died after a crash on a quad bike being driven by a 13-year-old, taking the quad bike toll across Australia to 115 since 2010.

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Between three and six children are killed each year in New Zealand due to the use of off-road vehicles, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons says (file). Photo: 123RF

Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) New Zealand Trauma Committee chair Dr Li Hsee said the tragedy was sadly similar to the multiple incidents that occurred in New Zealand every year.

Dr Hsee said, in New Zealand, more than 100 children hurt themselves every year on off-road vehicles - and between three and six would die.

Surgeons were often on the front lines of these horrific injuries and saw first-hand the damage caused by quad bikes, he said.

"These figures are quite frankly unacceptable for both of our countries. No family should have to experience such heartbreak."

Despite having four wheels, quad bikes had a high centre of gravity and a narrow wheelbase, making them particularly unstable, Dr Hsee said.

"Even at low speeds, quad bikes can easily roll over onto their operators ... It is these types of accidents, where the vehicle rolls over, that cause the most injuries and deaths."

Quad bikes, even when operated by an adult, left very little room for rider error, he said.

"A lack of judgement, a lack of skill, or even a lack of body mass and physical strength, can result in death or serious injury.

"We must ensure that children are not exposed to death or serious injury by being given access to quad bikes, regardless of whether they have been designed for children or not."