'Safety training' not license for quad bikes, says Agforce

AGFORCE has supported increasing safety around quad bikes but has stopped short of supporting mandatory licences and helmets.

Speaking at the inquest into quad bike deaths, AgForce Queensland representative Georgie Somerset said the farmer group believed changes to increase quad bike safety were needed - but had to be evidence based.

The inquest is looking into quad bike crash deaths near Dalby, Toowoomba, Kingaroy, Bowen, Longreach and Townsville with changes including mandating helmets, licences, training and a bike safety rating system being considered.

She said the group had twice offered quad bike safety training in recent years. When the training was fully subsidised the interest was so great they had to turn people away - but when farmers had to pay for training there was little to no interest.

Mrs Somerset said the organisation would support safety training but not a mandatory quad bike licensing program.

"We'd be very cautious about mandating something for the broadacre industry without a basis in evidence," she said.

However, she said she believed making quad bike-specific helmets could make helmets more widely accepted in the industry.

"What we find is current helmets, for motorbikes, are designed for speed," she said.

"That's not what farmers want. Most quad bikes' average speed on farms is between 6-10kmh. They are used slowly over long distances - generally mustering.

"The concerns with the current helmets are airflow and communication. They just aren't designed for what farmers use quad bikes for."

The inquest is in its third and final phase and will conclude tomorrow when Peter De Waard, counsel assisting the coroner, sums up the last week's hearings before Coroner John Lock.



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