7 Jan 2014

Boy killed was driving adult quad bike

6:07 pm on 7 January 2014

User groups say the death of a six-year-old boy driving a quad bike in Southland is a tragic reminder of why nobody under the age of 16 should use the vehicles.

Charlie Vercoe was wearing a helmet but was trapped under the quad bike.

Charlie Vercoe was wearing a helmet but was trapped under the quad bike. Photo: NZ POLICE

Charlie John Vercoe and his 12-year-old brother were visiting a farm at Lorneville, near Invercargill, and were both out riding quad bikes when the accident happened at 5.30pm on Monday.

Police have confirmed that Charlie Vercoe was wearing a helmet but the bike he was driving was an adult size, which can weigh between 300 and 400kg.

The boy lost control of the vehicle before it rolled and landed in a ditch, trapping him. He was taken to Southland Hospital where he later died.

The accident has prompted renewed calls for a high level of safety awareness for farm vehicles.

Federated Farmers' safety spokesperson Jeanette Maxwell says no person under 16 should ever ride an adult-sized quad bike and says age-specific bikes are readily available.

Ms Maxwell said users should always wear a helmet and training courses are recommended.

The Motor Industry Association also recommends that children under 16 should not be allowed to ride adult quads as they do not have the strength or cognitive skills to handle such a vehicle.

Police are investigating the accident on behalf of the Coroner and Charlie Vercoe's family is being helped by Victim Support.