University of Adelaide researchers are investigating the causes of quad bike accidents on farms to help reduce growing numbers of fatalities and serious injuries to agricultural workers and other users.
Commissioned by SafeWork SA, the University's Centre for Automotive Safety Research (CASR) is starting an 18-month project by looking for quad bike users in agricultural industries to take part in their research.
Last year across Australia there were 21 deaths and at least 78 serious injuries related to quad bike use.
"Quad bikes are important to many agricultural industries but the number of serious accidents is likely to keep rising - largely because of their increased popularity," says project manager Dr Lisa Wundersitz, CASR Research Fellow.
"We want to talk to agricultural workers to find out how they use quad bikes: what activities they use them for and what's involved; whether they attach other equipment to their quads; whether they wear helmets; and what experiences they have had with their quads.
"We want to speak with people who have had accidents or near-misses, and those who haven't. Where possible, we would also like to inspect the bike and terrain. We want to understand the specific environments in which quad bikes are being used."
The research will involve face-to-face interviews with quad bike users (not necessarily the owners) from agricultural industries who are over 16 years old. Data from hospital admissions, Coroners' files and WorkCover will also be used.
"We aim to complete a detailed analysis of the causes and circumstances around quad bike incidents and make recommendations that will help agricultural workers use their bikes in a safe manner," says Dr Wundersitz.
"We'll be suggesting solutions to issues we identify from our research - perhaps behaviours that need changing or engineering measures that can be introduced to reduce the risk to users."
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