Children should never be allowed to ride quad bikes, says an agricultural safety expert.
Releasing a publicaiton earlier in the year called "Quad bikes: tobacco on four wheels", Associate Professor Tony Lower of the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety recently stated that "There is no way in the world would I allow a child onto one."
Prof Lower is co-author of a study in the Medical Journal of Australia that shows quad bikes are dangerous and suggests that they be replaced with other vehicles where possible.
The recent study by Monash University and the University of Sydney shows there were 19 quad-bike deaths and 800 hospital admissions in Victoria over the nine years to the end of June 2011.
"The problem would be similar in other parts of Australia", says Lower, also reporting on 12 deaths across Australia in the first eight months of 2013.
The deaths included farm use, and recreational use. Over 15 per cent of the injuries involved children.
He said "One of the biggest dangers is the quad bikes are fundamentally unstable and prone to rollover. They can flip and crush their rider. This happens even with the ones marketed for use by children"
"Children must not ride quad bikes and passengers must not be carried."
Prof Lower says he would prefer farmers let their children ride two-wheel motorcycles, with correct protective gear, rather than quad bikes.
"When they do come off they may injure themselves but the chances of them dying are significantly less than on a quad bike... People visiting farms should not use them unless they are skilled. We do see deaths in visitors to farms."
Geraldton has experienced it's share of loss at the hands of quad bikes, and Everything Geraldton has recently been contacted by numbers of concerned residents who say they see young children riding quad bikes in the street, on footpaths, and in scrub near houses, often without correct protective gear or supervision.