Call for law change on quad bikes

02/08/10

Doctors say the law should be changed to force people who use road legal quad bikes to wear helmets.

Accident and Emergency medics tell us lives are needlessly being put at risk because riders aren't required to wear any protective gear - despite the fact the bikes can reach 80 or 90 mph.

Twenty-three-year-old electrician Dan, from Warrington, is a quad bike fan: "Riding them is awesome. It's probably at its best in the summer weather.

"All you need when it's nice and hot is a pair of shorts, t-shirt, vest and off you go - it's a buzz."

The same goes for his friend 20-year-old bank worker Andy.

"The reason we don't wear a helmet is because it looks cool. Especially if it's on a hot day.

"People are looking at you, it's an adrenaline rush and you get the wind running through your hair."

The DVLA doesn't keep specific figures on the number of road legal quads but the main UK suppliers say that since 2005 they've gone from selling a few hundred each year to thousands.

'Simple' protection

It's that boom in popularity that worries Dr John Heyworth, who speaks for the organisation that represents A&E doctors.

"We know that the riders on these quad bikes are at real risk of serious injury and even death because they are seriously unprotected.

"We know from experience that head injuries are the biggest killer in these sorts of accidents.

"So for goodness sake let's protect these riders. It's a simple bit of protection for them that will save lives."

Most people who work in the quad bike industry support his call.

If it was compulsory to wear a helmet he would probably still be alive
Amii Grove

But they also say any new legislation must not be a 'one size fits all' approach that would impact on legitimate riders.

Twenty-four-year-old glamour model Amii Grove is keen to see helmets made compulsory after she lost her brother in a quad bike accident two years ago.

"He had a head on crash with a Land Rover. He died because of his head injuries.

"So if it was compulsory to wear a helmet he would probably still be alive today."

The government says it strongly advises riders to wear helmets.

Road Safety Minister Mike Penning says there are no plans to make it compulsory though he will keep the matter under review.