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Surgeons call for youth quad bike ban

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 8/03/2017

Surgeons are again calling for the government to ban the use of quad bikes for anyone under 16 years old.

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, saying the injury statistics are "unacceptable".

"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.

The renewed call from the RACS has been prompted by the death of a six-year old girl in New South Wales, while being driven by a 13-year-old, and repeats a plea from last year.

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.

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.

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