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Doctors call for action on child motorcycle and quad deaths

Doctors are calling for children who ride motorbikes, quads and other off road vehicles to participate in a new study aimed at preventing crashes and serious injury.

The research follows on from a recent Queensland Coroner’s findings into quad bike deaths, which highlighted the potential risks of children riding motorbikes and quads. Injuries kill more children in Australia than any other cause. There are over 100 serious off-­‐road crashes per year and the majority of those who are killed or seriously injured are children.

Dr Chris Mulligan explains that “unlike adults, children riding motorcycles and quads sometimes don’t have the physical strength, developmental or cognitive skills needed to safely operate large vehicles”.

“Childhood injuries and deaths from motorbike and off road vehicle crashes affect children on farms and in rural setting far more frequently than children in metropolitan areas. We know that these vehicles are often essential farming equipment, but we need to find out more about how they are being used on the land to reduce the number of injuries,” says Dr Mulligan.

“There have been a range of proposals aimed at reducing injuries such as changes to licensing, training and mandatory helmet or vehicle types, but we don’t yet know what factors will work best, which is why this study is important.

“By taking a quick survey, parents can help us identify the biggest risk factors for crashing and the areas where we can prevent the most injuries,” says Dr Mulligan

Dr Mulligan and colleagues from NeuRA are calling for the parents of children 16 years and under who ride motorbikes or off road vehicles to take a short online survey asking about their riding behaviors, equipment and training. The survey can be found at www.neura.edu.au/offroad.