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Farmers and recreational riders have been reminded to think carefully about the potential dangers of quad bikes after the machines became the leading cause of deaths on Australian farms last year, according to new research.

Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery research officer Alex Collie said quad bikes accounted for about one-third of fatalities, with children under 14 years and adults over 45 years the most common victims.

“Around half of all Australian quad-bike fatalities occurred due to roll-over of the bike, which can result in severe chest, head and spinal injuries,” Dr Collie said.

“The vast majority of these roll-over deaths were also found to occur on farms.”

But a literature review conducted this year by the institute found the fitting of crush protection devices had some potential to reduce injuries and fatalities.