Safety warn­ings ig­nored

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - John Grey APN News­desk john.grey@apn.com.au

A CORO­NIAL in­quest into nine quad bike crashes across the state all in­volved fail­ure by the rid­ers to fol­low clear safety warn­ings and guide­lines.

Deputy State Coroner John Lock, fore­shad­ow­ing some of his rec­om­men­da­tions, high­lighted un­der-age use, in­tox­i­ca­tion and fail­ure to wear hel­mets as re­cur­ring themes in the nine tragedies.

“If there is a mes­sage to go out im­me­di­ately, it is that chil­dren un­der the age of the 16 cer­tainly shouldn’t be rid­ing adult-sized quad or ATV bikes, and that peo­ple shouldn’t be do­ing so whilst in­tox­i­cated… and that hel­mets should be worn,” he said.

Coun­sel as­sist­ing Peter DeWaard said on Tues­day in his clos­ing sub­mis­sion that the death of chil­dren rid­ing adult-sized quad bikes was con­cern­ing.

“With all the in­ci­dents re­sult­ing in head in­juries, hel­mets were not worn. With all of these deaths, the rid­ers were con­sid­ered ex­pe­ri­enced. This sug­gests that ex­pe­ri­ence alone is not enough,” he said.

“In­tox­i­ca­tion has fea­tured in some of the cases.

Peter De Waard In­tox­i­ca­tion has fea­tured in some of the cases

“Clearly, if you are un­fit to be driv­ing a mo­tor ve­hi­cle, you are also un­fit to be rid­ing a quad bike.”

Liam Dol­lar, for the Fed­eral Cham­ber of Au­to­mo­tive In­dus­tries, said all ATVs had clear warn­ing la­bels about dan­gers such as un­der-age use, in­tox­i­ca­tion or rid­ing with­out hel­mets.

Each death in the in­quiry in­volved non-com­pli­ance with at least one of those warn­ings, he said.

Mr DeWaard said another re­cur­ring is­sue was un­der- or over-in­fla­tion of tyres, which could have a sig­nif­i­cant ef­fect on sta­bil­ity. “Work­place safety has also been high­lighted,” he said. “Em­ploy­ers need to en­sure they are se­lect­ing the right tools for the job.”

Mr DeWaard called for more train­ing and ed­u­ca­tion of rid­ers and of in­ves­ti­gat­ing po­lice of­fi­cers.

The in­quest has ad­journed un­til phase two later this year, which will de­velop rec­om­men­da­tions to re­duce the like­li­hood of quad bike deaths.

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