THERE is an urgent need to improve the safety of quad bikes, after 15 deaths on the bikes this year, Employment Minister Bill Shorten said this week.
Mr Shorten released key findings from a discussion paper on what needs to be done to improve quad bikes sold in Australia.
Among the changes proposed were the need for crush protection devices attached to quad bikes, as well as mandatory use of helmets.
The proposals come after years of debate in regional and rural communities about the merits of roll cages and other safety devices.
Mr Shorten said the designers and manufacturers of quad bikes needed to improve design to minimise rolling, as well as create better roll cages.
"We are keen to bring manufacturers along with us in this process and it is pleasing to see that since our forum in October some quad bike manufacturers are now playing a positive role in offering to fit crush protection devices as a safety feature," he said.
"For the users the responsibilities are to wear a helmet, not to carry passengers and not to let children ride quad bikes."
With around 20% of deaths involving children less than 16 years of age, particularly in regional areas, Safe Work Australia will work with state and territory regulators to institute a ban on children under 16 years operating a quad bike of full size in a workplace.
"Manufacturers already have explicit warnings on full size quad bikes regarding age restriction recommendations, but we want to take this one step further and formally ban the use of full size quad bikes in workplaces including farms for anyone less than 16 years," Mr Shorten said.