Two young boys have died in quad bike accidents on rural properties on opposite sides of the country.
On Saturday afternoon a seven-year-old boy was killed while riding an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) in the tiny town of Dingup, in WA’s South-West, while a nine-year-old Tasmanian boy died in an ATV accident at a family member’s rural property at Sandford on Hobart’s eastern shore.
Both boys died after the quad bikes they were riding rolled over.
WA paramedics were called to the Dingup property just before 2pm and the seven-year-old was taken to nearby Manjimup Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
In Tasmania, emergency services attended the Sandford property just before 2:30pm yesterday. Family members, police and paramedics tried to resuscitate the nine-year-old but were unsuccessful.
Tasmania Police said the boy was wearing a full-face helmet when he crashed.
Coronial reports are being prepared in both cases.
Third WA death in four months
It is the third time WA’s farming community has been rocked by an ATV-related death in recent months.
A 50-year-old livestock agent died after a crash on a farm near Esperance in April, while a 17-year-old boy died after an accident on a farm in WA’s Great Southern in December.
The two fatalities prompted a safety alert from WA’s Department of Mines, Industry, Regulation and Safety.
The department said users should consider alternative vehicles to travel around farms as “quad bikes may roll over and cause serious injury or death, particularly if used on uneven ground, at high speed or to carry heavy or uneven loads”.
SafeWork Australia said there were 104 quad bike-related fatalities in Australia between 2011 and 2016.
Of the victims, 11 per cent were children aged 11 or under, while a third were aged 60 or over.
Half of the 104 fatalities were the result of a rollover, and 69 occurred on a farm or property with “unstable or uneven terrain” such as an incline, ditch, embankment, sand or mud.
ATV restrictions urged
There is currently no legislation restriction on the use of quad bikes on private properties in Tasmania.
A 2017 coronial inquest into seven Tasmanian ATV fatalities made several recommendations, including the introduction of legislation to stop children under 16 operating adult-sized quad bikes.
Coroner Simon Cooper said those under 16 years of age should only be allowed to ride age-appropriate vehicles, and suggested a complete ban for those under six.
Similar inquests into quad bike-related deaths in New South Wales and Queensland also recommended the development of improved, standardised, and nationally-accredited training.