10 May 2023

Teen in critical condition after quad bike incident

| Matt Nicholls
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A YOUNG man is fighting for his life in Townsville Hospital after suffering head injuries in a sickening quad bike incident in Weipa last week.

Recent Western Cape College graduate Rohan Ebner was directly flown by the Royal Flying Doctor Service to Townsville on Tuesday, April 26.

A spokesperson for Townsville University Hospital said yesterday: “The patient is in a critical condition.”

The 18-year-old was travelling on the rear rack of a quad bike on McLeod Drive when he fell off and sustained serious head injuries.

Weipa Criminal Investigation Branch are investigating the incident.

Preliminary information suggests that around 12.50am, four men were on the quad bike until Rohan fell off.

He was transported to Weipa Hospital before an RFDS plane flew him directly to Townsville University Hospital.

“The other three men were not injured and are assisting Weipa CIB with their inquiries,” a police spokesperson said.

The incident happened just weeks after Weipa police announced a crackdown on quad bike use in the township.

Acting Senior Sergeant Rod Stanley of Weipa Police said that quad bikes were unable to be driven on Queensland roads or road-related areas, legally, unless the vehicle was subject to the conditional registration scheme.

“Heavy fines are applicable for drivers and passengers of quad bikes if they do not comply with registration, licensing and the wearing of helmets,” he said.

“As a community, we need to change our attitudes towards quad bikes or more serious injuries or fatalities will occur.

“Having to tell family and friends that their loved one has been seriously injured or killed is one of the hardest jobs we have, as police.

“That job is made even more difficult in small communities like Weipa, because we are more likely to know the people involved.

“You are committing the offences of driving an unregistered and uninsured vehicle if you drive or ride a quad bike or ATV on a road or road-related area.

“You may also be committing other offences, such as failing to wear a helmet or drink driving.”

The community is also reminded that children under the age of eight are prohibited from riding quad bikes and utility off-road vehicles on roads and road-related areas. They are also not able to be passengers.

Community members are encouraged to continue to report sightings of quad bikes on the road or beaches to the police.

Safety tips for quad riders:

l Wear an appropriate motorcycle helmet;

l Use protective equipment like gloves and boots;

l Carefully descend slopes;

l Operate the quad bike at a safe speed;

l Make sure all cargo is secured before riding; and

l Do not operate a quad bike beyond your capabilities.

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