Death sparks quad bike safety message call

By Abby Gillies

The crash in which Shane White, aged 10, died is the third quad bike fatality this year. Photo / APN
The crash in which Shane White, aged 10, died is the third quad bike fatality this year. Photo / APN

The death of a 10-year-old boy in a quad bike accident on a south Wairarapa farm has prompted calls for more safety messages aimed at the vehicles.

Shane White, the son of a sharemilking family, was found under a bike about 1km from the farm gate by his father at the property in Featherston at 10am yesterday.

"CPR was performed at the scene, but sadly the boy was deceased. Inquiries so far indicate that the boy had gone out on the quad bike and was found by his father a short time later," said Acting Senior Sergeant Rob Rackliff.

Clare Crawford, principal of Kahutara School where Shane was a pupil, said pupils, staff and families were grieving the loss of a well-liked, positive and helpful student.

"We are a small country school and a very close community, and Shane's loss will be felt throughout."

It is the third quad bike fatality this year, according to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Simple safety messages around the use of quad bikes could "go a long way to preventing these utterly unnecessary deaths", said Chief Coroner Judge Neil MacLean.

Sadly, the number of incidents did not appear to be reducing, he said.

Quad bikes were okay when used for the purpose for which they were designed but when pushed beyond that, or used by children, they became potentially dangerous, he said.

"I suspect that the key message is training and awareness that they're not toys.

"They're not something that kids should be around."

Judge MacLean acknowledged there was much debate around protective measures such as rollbars on bikes.

"Sometimes the very protective device itself can be the cause of injury that might not have otherwise happened."

There were many other near misses, he said.

A push by the ministry was launched last month to reinforce safety messages to reduce quad bike injuries and fatalities.

Typically, five people will die and 850 will be injured each year in accidents involving quad bikes on farms, according to its figures.

As in any workplace, farm owners and managers are required to take practicable steps to control hazards and under-aged riders on their farms.

All manufacturers of quad bikes sold in New Zealand state children younger than 16 may not ride an adult-sized quad bike for this reason.

- APNZ

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