'Scant regard to the risks' - farmers under fire over quad bike deaths

A journalist has hit out at farmers who ignore safety around quad bikes, saying he is fed up with the number of people getting injured and killed.

In the latest incident, a three-year old child was critically injured after falling off a quad bike in Warworkth.

Mark Daniel, who is the machinery editor at Rural News Group told Magic Talk's Rural Exchange that many farmers aren't getting the message.

"My first question to farmers would be what the hell was a three-year old doing on the back of a quad bike?" he said.

He said many farmer and retailers are trying to move away from traditional quad bikes, to side by sides, but there are still a huge number of quad bikes on farms.

Mr Daniel said they do have a place, but need to be used correctly.

"Farmers need to sit down before they say let's jump on a quad and drive up this hillside." 

They need to decide whether it is the proper vehicle to do the job, not just say we have to get up this hill and we have to get up there with three people.

You are going to put yourself at extreme risk, what's the point? It's crazy."

He said farmers need to make a change.

"They need to get their act together and take collective responsibility."

Mr Daniel told the show he believes most quad bike dealers are responsible and safety-conscious.

"Most are fairly switched on, and the good ones will bring the machine out to the farm, and make sure the dynamics of the bike are understood."

He said with plenty of safety information available, the issue is on the farm, .

"Are farmers looking at it before they go out? The answer is sadly not."

According to WorkSafe, there were 48 serious accidents in 2018, and six already this year. In the past decade, there have been 51 fatalities on quad bikes - one this year. The deadliest year was 2015, with nine deaths.

Watch the full interview with Mark Daniel.

Hamish McKay and Richard Loe host Rural Exchange, 6-8am Saturday and Sunday on Magic Talk with Carter's Tyre Service.