A New Year's Day quad bike crash that left a baby injured and a man on life support has prompted another stern warning around the use of the vehicles.

Last night, a 43-year-old man was in Waikato Hospital's intensive care unit after the crash on a rural property in Dunlop Rd, near Opotiki, at noon on Friday. A 1-year-old also on the quad bike, suffered arm injuries and was in a stable condition.

Whakatane Sergeant Ray Wylie said the crash was a timely reminder to use all-terrain vehicles safely.

"These are motor vehicles and as a result rules and laws apply."


People using quad bikes needed to wear helmets, only carry passengers if the vehicle had been designed to, and only use the vehicle as outlined in the manufacturer's recommendations, he said.

The Motor Industry Association agreed.

"All of the manufacturers are very clear: if you have an ATV that's set up for one rider, then it should only be one rider, and you shouldn't be carrying children on an adult-sized ATV," chief executive David Crawford said.

Despite regulations and safety advisories, more than 15 people have died in quad bike accidents over the past three years.

The victims included a 12-year-old and a 6-year-old.

"A lot of people do carry kids on them, and they just think, 'we'll just carry them if we go slow'," Crawford said.

His organisation also recommended that children under the age of 16 shouldn't be allowed to ride adult-sized quad bikes.

"If they do accidentally roll and they land on top of them, they can be quite heavy to lift off."

It was one of two serious Bay of Plenty crashes on New Year's Day in which children were injured.

The second, a head-on crash on SH2 in the Waiotahe area, near Opotiki, just before noon, injured three children and three adults.

One person was on life support in intensive care in Waikato Hospital.

Wylie yesterday said initial inquiries indicated a vehicle crossed the centre line into the path of two oncoming vehicles.

"This is not a great start to the year and is not the way we want to carry on," Wylie said.

"Despite previous road safety messages, drivers and riders are still failing to heed warnings."