Quad bike safety checks ramped up as stage two looms with $10 million fines

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ACCC staff ran a spot check of Quad bike resellers and found 16% had not complied with Stage 1 of the Quad Bike safety standard with fines expected for continued breeches after stage 2 up to $10 million

Quad bikes sold prior to the Safety standards coming into effect can install an after-market operator protection device (OPD) such as the Quadbar Flexi as shown here with a flexible joint that allows the bar to flex rearwards in the event of contact with an overhead obstacle

The ACCC has become very pro-active with enforcing the Quad Bike safety standard and has flagged maximum fines of $500,000 for individuals and for a body corporate up to $10 million.

ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh had this to say, “In partnership with the states and territories we have visited quad bike dealerships around the country to see if quad bikes being sold meet the stage 1 safety requirements.”

“Although 16 per cent of quad bikes inspected, or roughly one in six, were not compliant with the safety standard, suppliers have so far co-operated with our investigations and taken steps to fix problems, including recalling non-compliant bikes where necessary.”

In March 2021, following site inspections by state regulators,  Suzuki voluntarily recalled  490 quad bikes that were not fitted with the required reflectors, compliance certificate labels, hang tags, and had information missing from the owner’s manuals.

Consumers who have purchased a  listed Suzuki quad bike  should check the vehicle identified number (VIN) list and contact their local Suzuki dealer to ensure their bike is compliant.

“Enforcing the quad bike safety standard is an ACCC priority this year and all quad bike suppliers should be aware that we will be keeping a very close eye on their compliance,” Mr Keogh said.

Only Eighty-four per cent of quad bikes assessed by Australia’s consumer law regulators were compliant with the first stage of a new national safety standard that came into force on 11 October 2020, new figures from the ACCC reveal.

The ACCC and state and territory consumer protection agencies have coordinated national market surveillance to determine whether quad bike suppliers have complied with the stage 1 requirements of the  Quad Bike Safety Standard.

The standard was introduced in 2019 to improve the safety of quad bikes, which are a leading cause of death and serious injuries on Australian farms. In the past decade, 163 people have died in quad bike-related incidents.

However, since the introduction of stage 1 compliance, only three of those have occurred so far this year.

The standard has been introduced in two stages, to provide manufacturers time to make necessary adjustments to quad bikes.

Stage 1 requirements include that all new and imported second hand quad bikes sold in Australia be tested for lateral static stability, have a hang tag attached to them showing the angle at which the quad bike tips onto two wheels, and carry a roll over warning label on the bike. The owner’s manual must also include roll over safety information.

From 11 October 2021 when stage 2 of the Safety Standard comes into effect, all new and second-hand imported general use quad bikes sold in Australia must be fitted with operator protection devices and meet minimum stability requirements.

“The second stage requirements are absolutely critical for improving the safety of quad bikes and saving lives,” Mr Keogh said.

“Suppliers have had plenty of time to make sure that all new quad bikes for sale meet all requirements of the Safety Standard.”

“We will be conducting national surveillance again this year and cracking down on anyone supplying non-compliant quad bikes,” Mr Keogh said.  

Consumers and businesses can  make a complaint  to the ACCC if they believe they have seen a quad bike offered for sale or have been sold a quad bike that does not comply with the requirements of the standard.

Separately, all participants in the supply chain for consumer goods are required to report serious injuries associated with the goods within two days of becoming aware of a reportable incident.

More information is available on the  Product Safety Australia website.

Background

In October 2019, the Federal Government accepted the ACCC’s recommendation to introduce a new mandatory safety standard for quad bikes.

Stage 1 came into effect on 11 October 2020 and requires that:

  • All quad bikes must meet the specified requirements of either the US quad bike Standard, ANSI/SVIA 1-2017 or the EN 15997:2011 Standard.
  • All quad bikes must be tested for static stability using a tilt table test and display the angle at which it tips on to two wheels on a hang tag at the point of sale.
  • All quad bikes have a durable label affixed, visible and legible when the quad bike is in operation, alerting the operator to the risk of rollover and must include rollover safety information in the owner’s manual.

Stage 2 comes into effect on 11 October 2021 and will require:

  • All general-use model quad bikes must have an operator protection device (OPD) that is either:
    • fitted into the bike; or
    • integrated into its design.
  • All general-use model quad bikes must meet the minimum stability requirements of:
    • lateral stability – a minimum tilt table ratio (TTR) of 0.55
    • front and rear longitudinal pitch stability – a minimum TTR of 0.8

A supplier may be found guilty of a criminal offence if they fail to comply with a mandatory safety or information standard. The maximum fine is $500,000 for individuals and for a body corporate, the greater of:

  • $10,000,000
  • three times the value of the benefit received, or
  • 10 per cent of annual turnover in the preceding 12 months, if a court cannot determine the benefit obtained from the offence.