The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) is advising farmers to follow the guidance of the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI) when it comes to the use of quad bikes.

The UFU stated that quad bikes are “extremely useful” on farms for tasks, but highlighted the importance of using them in a safe manner.

One of the main points highlighted by the HSENI was that quad bikes are not toys and that a child may be at least 16-years-old before being allowed to ride a quad.

The child of the suitable age must wear the correct gear and be adequately supervised, as many children have been involved in serious and fatal accidents caused by quad bikes.

Wearing appropriate clothing is “vital” when it comes to riding a quad bike. Clothing that is strong and covers your arms and legs, as well as gloves, are useful for protection.

The HSENI added to wear sturdy, ankle-covering footwear, e.g., boots that are strong, supportive and have good wet grip. It is also important to protect your eyes from insects and branches by wearing goggles.

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.

The HSENI stated:

“Weather cabs on quads restrict a rider’s ability to jump clear in an overturn, which means the rider is likely to be crushed within the cab unless it is strong enough to withstand the forces involved.”

Lap straps or seat restraints should not be fitted as they prevent the rider from moving on the quad to keep it properly balanced.

Accidents have occurred when machines have run down slopes because of poor brake maintenance, particularly while they are being loaded or the increase in weight has set the machine in motion.