Rural Affairs

Farm safety – Quad bike safety

Picture: Cliff Donaldson

Quad bikes are extremely useful on farms for many tasks, but it is important that quads are used safely at all times. The Ulster Farmers’ Union is advising all members to follow the guidance of the HSENI when operating a quad:

  • Wear clothing that is strong and covers your arms and legs. Gloves are useful for protection and handlebar muffs can help to keep hands warm in cold weather for good control of the quad.
  • Wear sturdy, ankle-covering footwear, for example, boots or wellingtons that are strong, supportive and have good wet grip.
  • Protect your eyes from insects and branches with either a visor or goggles.
Roll-overprotective structures (ROPS)
  • HSENI’s current advice is that roll-overprotective structures (ROPS or crush protection devices) are not recommended for quad bikes.
  • Research has shown that they may lead to an increased risk of injury in the event of an overturn by either preventing the operator from separating from the machine or striking the operator as the machine overturns.
  • Lap straps or seat restraints should not be fitted as they prevent the rider from moving on the quad to keep it properly balanced. Lap straps or seat restraints would be potentially lethal without a full cab or roll cage.
  • Weather cabs on quad bikes restrict a rider’s ability to jump clear in an overturn – the rider is likely to be crushed within the cab unless it is strong enough to withstand the forces involved.
Children and quad bikes
  • Quad bikes are not toys and many children have been involved in serious and fatal accidents caused by them.
  • Only properly trained people, within the recommended age range, (the minimum for a farm type quad is usually 16 years), should be allowed to ride a quad. And they must wear the correct helmet and be adequately supervised.
  • Passengers, including children, must never be carried on quad bikes.
  • If you have to park on a slope, always park across it unless it is too steep.
  • Accidents have occurred when machines have run down slopes because of poor brake maintenance, particularly while they are being loaded and movement or the increase in weight has set the machine in motion.
More safety tips:
  • Make sure all quad bikes are properly maintained and kept in a safe condition.
    Take care on slopes and rough terrain – never exceed the capabilities of the bike.
    Don’t do tasks that interfere with safe riding – keep both hands on the bike.