A coroner has emphasised the dangers posed by quad bikes following the death of a man at a property near Hanging Rock, backing a proposed mandatory safety standard for the vehicles.
The 69-year-old man died on his Hesket property in September 2017 from chest and head injuries sustained when his quad bike rolled.
The man was not wearing a helmet and the bike was not fitted with crush protection.
A forensic engineer determined the bike would likely not have rolled onto the man if it were fitted with a crush protection device, as it would have changed the path it took.
Dr Shane Richardson also said the man would have likely survived the rollover had he been wearing a helmet.
It was also found that the man's alcohol level probably impaired his ability to operate the bike.
In her recent findings, Coroner Paresa Spanos noted quad bike-related deaths had long been of concern to coroners.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission found quad bikes were responsible for 114 deaths in Australia from 2011 to October 2017, with 25 occurring in Victoria.
More than half were caused by a rollover, and about 90 per cent of such deaths occurred on a farm.
Two people are also hospitalised each day with serious injuries suffered through quad bike use.
In her findings Ms Spanos outlined the steps that had been taken to improve quad bike safety.
Ms Spanos noted WorkSafe had developed an app that would help users identify hazards, and in 2016 a rebate was introduced for farmers to purchase an alternative vehicle or a protective device.
This rebate is eligible for bikes purchased between July 22, 2016 and August 31, 2019, with applications open until September 30, 2019 through the Victorian Farmers Federation.
WorkSafe also published a handbook on quad bikes on farms, Ms Spanos said, and a fact sheet on the importance of helmets.
National bodies created resources on the risks of quad bikes and how to mitigate them, and manufacturers in the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries developed the website atvsafety.com.au.
Related: Workplace deaths rise in 2017
This year, the ACCC delivered its recommended mandatory safety standard for quad bikes, which included such measures as all bikes meeting the European or US standards, rollover warning labels and safety information, protection devices fitted to or integrated into the design of general-use quad bikes, and minimum stability requirements.
The ACCC also recommended other measures, including steps to increase the use of helmets and other personal protection equipment, a safety rating system, education to encourage the use of seatbelts on side-by-side vehicles, prohibiting children from riding adult-sized bikes and passengers from single-seat bikes, and the continuation of current rebates.
Currently, quad bikes do not have to meet any minimum safety or design standard.
To have a piece of equipment that doesn't have an Australian standard... that needs to be addressed.- David Jochinke, Victorian Farmers Federation president
Submissions on the recommended safety standard closed in June.
Ms Spanos said she supported the ACCC's proposed measures and as a result, would not make any further recommendations in her coronial findings.
"I commend the efforts taken by industry bodies and state and federal authorities to implement a range of measures designed to raise awareness of the dangers of quad bikes, improve quad bike safety and prevent fatalities," she said.
She ordered her findings be distributed to relevant authorities to "highlight the continuing danger of quad bikes".
However, the manufacturers involved in the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries - BRP, Honda, Kawasaki, Yahama and Suzuki - do not recommend rollover protection structures or crush protection devices be fitted to quad bikes, because they say they can cause more injuries than they prevent.
These members base their opposition to studies conducted in the UK and US between 1998 and 2008, which suggested the risks outweighed the benefits.
"Suzuki will not engineer the inclusion of, nor recommend the fitment of OPDs [operator protection devices]," Suzuki said in a submission to the ACCC.
Instead, these manufacturers say the most suitable way to reduce risk is to observe such safety practices as wearing helmets, ensuring riders are properly trained, allowing only adults to ride full-size bikes, and keep passengers off single-seat vehicles.
But the Victorian Farmers Federation supports the ACCC's findings and recommendations, including mandatory protection.
"To have a piece of equipment that doesn't have an Australian standard... that needs to be addressed," VFF president David Jochinke told the Bendigo Advertiser.
Mr Jochinke said protective equipment did not stop the bikes from rolling, but - contrary to the claims of the industry - significantly reduced the chance of injury and death.
"I would never have a quad bike on my farm because they're too risky, the way they are," he said.
Mr Jochinke said manufacturers needed to accept the fact that rollover devices did save lives.
But he urged farmers to consider whether they needed a quad bike, or whether the safer side-by-side vehicle could meet their needs.
WorkSafe Victoria also recommends the use of protective devices on quad bikes.
And earlier this month, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons' quad bike spokesperson, Dr Warwick Teague, said the sooner the risks were mitigated, the sooner lives would be saved.
"Future generations will look back on this moment just as we now look back on seatbelts on car seats," Dr Teague said.
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