With concern mounting around the number of quad bike accidents on Australian farms, safety regulators, agricultural and transport experts, farming associations, state coroners and vehicle distributors called for improvements to the safety of these vehicles. Researchers provided some evidence-based direction on this topic.
With support from WorkSafe, Dr Scott Wordley and Dr Bruce Field, at the time both based at Monash's Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, identified the Quad bars as worthy of investigation. The Quad bar is a crush protection device that is attached to the quad bike and activated in the event of a crash, to prevent the full weight of the quad bike from being applied to, or coming to rest on, the rider.
The researchers initially reviewed a wide range of existing literature on the topic. A year later, Dr Wordley updated the review to take newly-released evidence into consideration.
The objective of these two reviews was to ensure that WorkSafe was kept up to the date with the latest information concerning quad bike crush protection devices.
The initial review, released in 2011, found that quad bikes had become the leading cause of death on Australian farms, confirming the need for evidence-based policy and practice in this area.
The report went on to indicate that, although the evidence base was limited, Quad bars could reduce rider harm during low speed roll-over events. Ultimately, the researchers recommended that these devices continue to be used while further research was completed.
An updated review was published one year later, taking the new research into consideration. This updated review reaffirmed the original review's conclusion that the results were promising and that crush protection devices should continue to be used and the research evidence be monitored.
These reviews have contributed to policy developments on the topic at WorkSafe. WorkSafe's policy updates in this area were covered by The Weekly Times.