Coroner foreshadows quad bike inquest report with a warning

A CORONIAL inquest into nine quad bike crashes across the state heard 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 De Waard 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," he said.

"With all of these deaths, the riders were considered experienced. This suggests that experience alone is not enough.

"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."

Mr 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 De Waard 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." Where quad bikes are used, there must be systems for maintenance and training.

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

All police witnesses in the inquest agreed they would benefit from a standardised template for quad bike crash investigations.

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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