Stricter quad bike laws are now in force
SAFETY first is the message for farmers using quad bikes with tough new laws introduced.
The new laws mean both quad bike operators and passengers are required to wear a helmet, according to the Queensland Farmers' Federation the new rules apply to conditionally registered quad bikes and utility off-road vehicles being used on Queensland roads and road-related areas
The changes that have come into effect also ban children under the age of 8 and kids who can not reach the footrests from riding on any quad bikes or utility off-road vehicles (also known as all-terrain vehicles).
Anyone who breaches the new helmet law will be fined $365 and hit with three demerit points.
This offence will also be subject to existing motorcycle helmet double demerit point penalties.
So if a rider commits two or more motorcycle helmet offences occur within 12 months, the second and subsequent offences will incur double demerit points.
But Bundy farmers are ahead of the safety game.
Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers chairman Allan Mahoney said while the farm he manages already does what is now legally required, he was pleased safety was becoming a priority for all quad bike users.
"Everyone is on board with the rules,” Mr Mahoney said.
"The change doesn't impact registered vehicles which already had these rules, but it's good to see everything stepping up,” he said.
"Anything we can do to keep safety a priority is great - any death is one too many.
"Hopefully it will keep new riders safe. It's about respecting the equipment.”
Quad bikes have evolved to become a key aspect of farming.
"They are great for just getting from farm block to block, because there can be a great distance in between,” Mr Mahoney said.
"They are also used when we do spot spraying and carrying equipment.
"They are a great tool - I don't know where we'd be without them.”
According to the Queensland Farmers' Federation, the new rules apply to conditionally registered quad bikes and ATVs being used on Queensland roads and road-related areas.
The changes were put in place to make quad bike and ATV rules more consistent with road rule laws.
Queensland Workplace Health and Safety said current exemptions from wearing a helmet would still apply, provided the vehicle had seatbelts and roll-over protection.
They also had advice for quad bike riders not keen on wearing full-face helmets.
"A major quad bike distributor has developed a helmet specifically for quad bike use that will be available in the coming months.
"The Shark brand helmet is made for Australian conditions and is lightweight, cooler and does not impact vision or hearing.”
Mr Mahoney said he used open-faced helmets on the farm and, while they are uncomfortable and hot, he'd rather be safer.
He hasn't tried the new Shark helmet yet.
"But it's supposed to be lightweight so I'm sure it will be welcomed on farms,” Mr Mahoney said.