10 May 2023

Police take aim at quad bike riders and passengers

| Cape York Weekly
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RIDING through the bush or along the beach on your quad bike is a favourite Cape York pastime but police say reckless behaviour has forced their hand to start cracking down on riders.

“Weipa police continue to receive calls from concerned community members reporting quad bikes being ridden in an unsafe manner, often on the road,” Senior Sergeant Warren Flegg said.

“Often they have multiple passengers on board, including young children, with the rider and passengers usually not wearing helmets.

“We understand that quad bikes and buggies are fun and that they may appear to be a convenient choice for transport around town, especially on a Friday or Saturday night, but the fun quickly wears off when you are faced with $3000 worth of fines, loss of licence, loss of employment, serious injury or death.”

Senior Sergeant Flegg said that when intercepted by police, the majority of quad bike riders are breaking the law in some capacity with helmet offences the most prevalent.

“The fine for not wearing a helmet on a quad bike whether you are the driver or passenger, will now cost you $413 and three demerit points.

“If you commit the same offence within a 12-month period, double demerit points apply.”

Police said the majority of quad and off-road vehicle crashes involved alcohol and occurred late at night.

Recently, a 23-year old man was dealt with by police following an off-road vehicle rollover on Andoom Road.

When questioned if alcohol had a part to play in his decision making, he replied, “no doubt about it!”

Tim West the officer in charge of the Queensland Ambulance Service in Weipa said: “Serious injuries can occur when quad bike riders and passengers are involved in crashes.

“Injuries can range from simple musculoskeletal injuries to serious and life-threatening injuries, such as head injuries that can result in death.

“The Queensland Ambulance Service responds to four serious motorcycle and quad-related incidents each year in Weipa.”

Mr West also reminded Cape York residents about the importance of calling Triple Zero (000) in the event of an accident.

“Transporting a patient in the back of a car can sometimes worsen a person’s injuries,” he said.

Senior Sergeant Flegg said quad bike riders were unable to utilise Queensland roads or road-related areas unless the vehicle was subject to the conditional registration scheme.

“If you decide to ride a quad bike or an off-road vehicle on a road or road-related area, you are committing the same offence as driving an unregistered and uninsured vehicle,” he said.

“Penalties for these offences range from fines of $385 to forfeiture of the quad or off-road vehicle for repeat offenders.”

Since the beginning of 2021, 13 people have lost their lives in quad bike-related accidents in Australia.

Eight of these fatalities were the result of a rollover and, in the majority of cases, the rider was not wearing a helmet.

“For me, one of the most challenging parts of my job as police officer is delivering a message that someone has suffered serious injury in a traffic crash,” Senior Sergeant Flegg said.

“The reality is that at some point if attitudes do not change, we are going to end up with another fatality.

“These laws are in place to keep the community safe. It is crucial that people wear helmets and do not let children ride adult quad bikes.

“They do not possess the relevant skills to operate motor vehicles without adult supervision.”

Senior Sergeant Flegg said the Weipa police unit was getting ready to ramp up high-visibility operations leading into Easter and the school holidays.

“We will take a no-tolerance approach to riders and passengers doing the wrong thing on quad bikes and off-road vehicles.”

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