Key points

  • Always use the safest vehicle for the job.
  • Plan ahead to avoid situations where you may need to carry a passenger on a quad bike.
  • You should avoid carrying a passenger, particularly a child, on a quad bike; it is the exception, not the rule.
  • You may only carry a passenger if there is no reasonable alternative.
  • If you intend to carry a passenger on a quad bike, you need to complete a risk assessment first.
  • If you decide to take a passenger on your quad bike after completing a risk assessment, you need to control the risks you’ve identified.

What is WorkSafe’s approach to carrying a passenger on a quad bike?

You should avoid carrying a passenger on a quad bike; it is the exception, not the rule. Carrying a passenger on a quad bike that is not designed for more than one person can increase the risk of accidents by making it more unstable, more difficult to control, and more likely to rollover.

You should always use the safest vehicle for the job. When carrying a passenger this would mean using a vehicle specifically designed for more than one person.

Where carrying a passenger on a quad bike is a recurring necessary practice, an alternative vehicle capable of carrying passengers suitable for the circumstances should be acquired and used as soon as practicable.

Carrying children on quad bikes

Carrying a child as a passenger on a quad bike is particularly dangerous, and may have deadly consequences. This is because a child is unlikely to have the skill, weight and mental development necessary to ride safely as a passenger.

A child may only be carried as a passenger if there is no reasonable alternative. If you decide that there is no reasonable alternative, then you need to control the risks you’ve identified (eg take a safer route).

You may only carry a passenger if there is no reasonable alternative

As a rule, you should not carry passengers on quad bikes, but there may be exceptions where there is no reasonable alternative.

If you are going to carry a passenger on a quad bike you need to complete a risk assessment considering:

  • the terrain you are going to be riding on
  • the ability of both the rider and passenger
  • any other farm-specific relevant factors.

If after completing a risk assessment you decide to carry a passenger, you need to control the risks you’ve identified. You can reduce the risks by taking the following actions:

  • You and your passenger should wear approved helmets.
  • Only experienced, confident, and competent quad bike riders should carry a passenger.
  • You should ensure that your speed is suitable for the conditions and does not exceed 20 km/h.
  • You need to identify the areas of your farm that are never suitable for carrying a passenger safely, and make sure that your workers know about them.
  • Carry your passenger on the side of the rear load carrier, facing forward, with their legs within the frame of the bike.
  • Use the weight of your passenger to suit the terrain (ie placed on uphill side when traversing an incline).
  • Brief your passenger about their responsibilities and tell them to listen carefully to your instructions.
  • Your passenger should be able to ride physically unsupported and react quickly to your instructions.

What this means for WorkSafe inspectors

If a WorkSafe inspector sees you carrying a passenger on a quad bike, they will ask you about the circumstances that required you to carry a passenger. They will also want to know about your risk assessment and steps you took to control any risks before they consider if enforcement action is required.