The Consumer Goods (Quad Bikes) Safety Standard 2019 (‘the Standard’) commenced operation on 11 October 2019. This much-debated standard placed a range of safety requirements on the operators and manufacturers of quad bikes and persons importing second-hand quad bikes in Australia.

From 11 October 2021, quad bikes that meet the definition of a “general use quad bike” will need to meet further conditions in order to be used, purchased, or imported into Australia. Any quad bike used in a farming operation will meet the definition of a general use quad bike. Such vehicles will:

  1. require a specified operator protection device (rollover protection); and
  2. be required to meet performance standards in respect of:
    • lateral roll;
    • forward pitch; and
    • rearward pitch.

As the Standard has been made under the Australian Consumer Law, a lot of the focus has been on the manufacturers of quad bikes and whether they will continue to produce vehicles for the Australian market. Honda has recently confirmed its decision to exit the Australian market on 10 October 2021.

It will be important that any persons or businesses operating quad bikes that meet the definition of general use quad bike but do not currently meet the higher requirements of the Standard modify their vehicles or purchase replacements that meet the Standard before 11 October 2021.

Although the Standard is not a code of practice approved by the relevant Minister under the Work Health and Safety Act 2021 (SA) (‘the WHS Act’), it is also likely that any persons who continue to operate unmodified general use quad bikes will be at significant risk of being found to be in breach of the WHS Act by doing so.

If, for some reason, you are not able to retrofit your existing quad bike(s) to meet the Standard, or purchase a suitable quad bike, consider whether another vehicle might be more suitable for your operation, such as a side by side vehicle.

Anyone that is unsure about what their obligations are, or if they are meeting them, should seek advice from an expert. While it may be frustrating and costly to act now, failing to meet the Standard could well be a far more expensive exercise.

This communication provides general information which is current as at the time of production. The information contained in this communication does not constitute advice and should not be relied upon as such. Professional advice should be sought prior to any action being taken in reliance on any of the information. Should you wish to discuss any matter raised in this article, or what it means for you, your business or your clients' businesses, please feel free to contact us.

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Ben Duggan

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