IT was dark and the end of a hard day’s work in April 2013.
Bethanga farmer David Elder was exhausted but before he could put his feet up he had to visit a neighbour.
Mr Elder jumped on his quad bike, not knowing the next bed he would be lying in would be the hospital’s.
He drove out his neighbour’s gate at a 45-degree angle and down a bank on the side of the road – he wasn’t wearing a helmet.
He spent two months in a Melbourne hospital, recovering from seven fractures and a brain injury.
Now Mr Elder is calling for more quad bike laws across Australia, following suggestions in Queensland that it should be compulsory for quad bike drivers to wear helmets and carry a licence.
It has also been suggested children should be banned from riding adult- sized quad bikes.
“I was very lucky,” Mr Elder said.
“A lot of people don’t seem to be aware of the dangers of quad bikes and I think it’s important to set an age limit.”
Mr Elder is also pushing for mandatory training for people using quad bikes for business purposes.
“Particularly those who are carrying a load,” he said.
The farmer said quad bikes were often driven on uneven and steep land and believed rollover protection should be a standard feature on the vehicle.
Mr Elder said he also welcomed the push for helmets.
“A younger person wouldn’t have the experience to know what can happen – but then again look at myself,” he said.
“I think mandatory helmets are definitely a must.
“I’ve been guilty myself of not wearing one.”
The Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety found 163 people in Australia died from farm accidents between 2012 and 2014.
Last year, two people under the age of 15 and four over the age of 15 died from quad bike crashes.
This year, two people under 15 have died and six over 15.
Four people under 15 have received non-fatal injuries as well as a whopping 19 people over 15.
Mr Elder said he felt for all people who suffered from quad bike accidents.
“They might be thinking something could happen but aren’t really aware,” he said.
“People need to think about the fine details of what can happen and what the ramifications are for family and the community.”
Mr Elder said it was also essential for farmers and people on quad bikes to be able to access good communication services while in the paddocks.
“Then if something happens they will be able to get help fast,” he said.
“There have been a few accidents where people could have got to them quicker with better communication.”