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27 Apr 2017 23:01
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  •   Home > News > Politics

    Surgeons call for youth quad bike ban

    Surgeons in New Zealand and Australia have called for the government to ban the use of quad bikes by children.


    Surgeons want the government to ban quad bike use by anyone under 16, but Prime Minister Bill English says they're already doing enough.

    The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, which represents doctors in both Australia and New Zealand says the governments of both countries need to stop the use of quad bikes by children because of "unacceptable" injury statistics.

    Just two days ago in Australia a six-year-old was killed and a 13-year-old old injured when their bike struck a tree.

    "According to [the] Accident Compensation Corporation figures, every year more than 100 children hurt themselves on off-road vehicles in New Zealand," RACS New Zealand trauma committee chair Li Hsee said.

    "Of these, around one fifth will be hospitalised, and tragically, between three and six will die."

    He said surgeons were seeing "horrific" injuries caused by the devices and even those youths using child-sized version of the bikes were still twice as likely to be injured than an adult on a full-sized machine.

    "Quad bikes, even when operated by an adult, leave very little room for rider error. A lack of judgement, a lack of skill, or even a lack of body mass and physical strength, can result in death or serious injury," he said.

    Mr English on Tuesday said the farming and recreational use communities now have a better understanding of the danger posed by quad bikes and were taking action.

    "As I get around I see people, particularly in the farming community, wearing helmets in a way they didn't before, the design of the bikes are improving. I think it's headed in the right direction," he said.

    "It's good to see the farming community coming to grips with it in a way that in the past they might have been a bit cavalier about it."

    Safekids, the ACC, Federated Farmers, WorkSafe NZ and quad bike manufacturers all strongly advise against the use of quad bikes by those less than 16 years of age, and Mr English backed those warnings.

    Last year, a study of admissions to Starship Children's Hospital published in the New Zealand Medical Journal also supported a call for a ban on under-16s using quads.

    New Zealand's Health Quality and Safety Commission's child and youth mortality review committee released a report in December 2014, which reviewed injuries and deaths in children in off-road accidents involving quad bikes, motorcycles and other agricultural vehicles from 2002 to 2012.

    There were 12 deaths associated with quad bikes in that period.

    © 2017 NZN, NZCity


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