Guidance for farmers to better understand how to safely attach, secure and carry loads using quad bikes, and how to tow and ride safely with the load.
Carrying loads on the front or rear racks of quad bikes can be convenient, but is risky when the extra weight changes the stability of the quad bike.
Quad bikes can become unstable and roll over when:
using attachments and towing
doing tasks they are not designed for
Operating a quad bike can be a risky activity, the operator can be injured or killed if the plant is not handled properly.
It can be dangerous to carry loads on the front or rear of a quad bike. The extra weight can affect steering and braking, alter the centre of gravity, and make the quad bike difficult to control.
Liquid in containers or tanks (carried or towed) can increase the likelihood of rollover because they can shift when cornering or going over slopes.
You can control the risks by:
planning your work
never operating an overloaded quad bike
identifying all hazards and whether there is a safer alternative vehicle
fitting your quad bike with a roll-over protection device (ROPS)
Towing and load limits
Always follow the manufacturer’s recommended load and towing limits. These are specified in the operator’s manual and on the quad bike. Quad bike brakes and suspension are designed to work effectively within these limits and on relatively smooth and level terrain. Towing with quad bikes is not permitted on Victorian roads.
Loads and towing are affected by:
location of the load
The combined total weight should not exceed the manufacturer’s weight or towing specifications.
Riding with the load
Do not overload the quad bike.
Make sure loads are safe and stable, and secured to racks with straps.
If towing a load, only connect it to the towing point of the vehicle.
Keep the load low.
Avoid high loads, because they raise the centre of gravity.
Use low gear and allow longer braking distance — the more weight carried, the slower you should go.
Avoid hills and rough terrain.
Reduce the weight of the cargo in rough terrain or as the slope increases.
Do not operate on steep slopes.
Understand the stability limitations of the quad bike and ensure it is fitted with a ROPS.
Carrying a container or towing a tank
Make sure the tank or container:
is within the quad bike manufacturer’s load limits
has internal baffles to restrict the movement of the liquid
has smooth external surfaces with no sharp edges
is carried as low as possible to keep the centre of gravity low
allows the operator to move freely and ride the quad bike actively
does not obscure the operator’s vision or interfere with the controls
does not touch the operator or restrict their ability to separate from the quad bike if it rolls
is properly sealed to avoid splashing chemicals onto the plant rider or surroundings
Figure 1 Ensure the spray tank is designed for the bike and meets the weight limitations of the plant.
Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, employers must:
so far as is reasonably practicable, provide and maintain a working environment
that is safe and without risks to the health of employees and independent contractors
where a risk cannot be eliminated, it must be reduced so far as is reasonably practicable
provide the necessary information, instruction, training or supervision to employees to enable them to do their work in a way that is safe and without risks to health
A self-employed person must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons are not exposed to risks to their health or safety arising from the conduct of their undertaking.
An employer or self-employed person must:
identify all hazards associated with the use of plant, and
so far as is reasonably practicable, eliminate any risk associated with the plant
Where it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate the risk, the employer or self-employed person must, so far as is reasonably practicable:
substitute the plant with plant that has a lower level of risk, or
isolate the plant from persons, or
use engineering controls, or
implement a combination of any of the risk control measures above
If the risk associated with plant remains, the employer or self-employed person must reduce the risk so far as is reasonably practicable by using administrative controls.
An employer or self-employed person must, so far as is reasonably practicable, eliminate the following risks or, if it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate the risks, reduce them so far as is reasonably practicable:
powered mobile plant overturning
objects falling on the operator of the powered mobile plant
the operator being ejected from the powered mobile plant
powered mobile plant colliding with pedestrians or other powered mobile plant