Quad bikes are continuing to become a very popular farm vehicle.
Fatal and very serious accidents have occurred using these All-Terrain Vehicles, which are designed generally for off-road use, most commonly on our farms.
The cause of most of these accidents is often put down to the lack of training and the lack of protective gears.
Several accidents happen when the quad overturns; the vehicle is extremely sensitive to the distribution of weight, and rough terrains paired with incorrect driving positions can easily make you lose control.
According to the H.S.A, the main causes of losing control of quads include the driver’s lack of training or experience, carrying a passenger or an unbalanced load, excessive speed when turning, overturning and excessive speed and impact with objects in the field.
Figures released by the H.S.A. show that 24% of deaths in the 65-years old category and older, are caused by quads, machinery, and P.T.O.s.
A total of 16 people in this age category lost their lives in the years 2006-2015.
When driving a quad, three guidelines have been issued.
- Wear protective clothing.
- Drive without passengers.
- Stay trained and up-to-date.
Some Guidelines to maximise safety:
- Professional training should be facilitated before operating these vehicles. This requirement is deemed as ‘vital and legal requirement', by the H.S.A. This can be provided by training agencies.
- Be familiar with the operation manual. Know the towing capacity and drawbar loading limit.
- Under fourteen-year-old children, should not drive these vehicles.
- Children over the age of fourteen can operate an ATV on the farm, where conditions are appropriate. Please be familiar with the legalities surrounding this.
- Before operating the vehicle, ensure you have performed a safety check. The H.S.A. suggests you check the tyre pressure, the operation of brakes and check that the throttle operates smoothly in all steering positions.
- Good driving positions are necessary to prevent tipping and maximise safety when driving on any possible terrains and slopes.
- Never carry a passenger. Carrying a passenger is an illegal action, where a seat is not fitted unless stated in manufacturers’ manual, according to the R.S.A. Carrying a passenger hinders a driver’s ability to control the vehicle.
- Wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which includes a helmet, for protection of your head and visor or goggles to shield your eyes. Clothing should cover your arms and legs, along with gloves and boots or wellingtons should also be worn.
- Allow adequate time to complete a task. Do not rush.
- Always seek the expertise of others if you have the inability to complete the task by yourself.
A document produced by the H.S.A. can be found here.
We covered a full feature on Quads earlier this year.
Some of your FAQ on the legal requirements surrounding the operation of a Quad Bike can be found here.