Background Quad-bikes are commonly used for agricultural and recreational purposes in rural and remote locations and are a leading cause of unintentional deaths on farms. Of the 81 quad-bike related deaths that occurred in Australia between 2010 and 2014, 26 (32%) occurred in Queensland.
Aims Review of Queensland aeromedical data from 2010 to 2014 to explore the rate of quad-bike related aeromedical retrievals (hereafter termed retrievals only).
Methods Narrative text analysis of clinical information in the retrievals dataset to locate quad-bike related retrieval cases (hereafter cases) using search terms – All Terrain Vehicles (ATV), quad and 4-wheel. All cases confirmed to involve quad-bikes entered into a SPSS dataset. Appropriate data custodian, Public Health Act and ethics approval was obtained for use of data.
Results Of the 93 185 retrievals undertaken between 2010 and 2014, 11 576 were trauma-related (12.4%) and 277 (0.3%) were quad-bike related. Males (79.3%) and those of working age (19–39 and 40–65 years, 33.2% and 29.6% respectively) were the most common patient groups requiring quad-bike related retrievals. Cases were retrieved from outer regional (41.8%), very remote (25.3%), inner regional (17.2%) and remote (13.2%) localities. Half of all retrievals were retrieved by fixed wing (52.7%), and primary retrievals (50.2%). Information regarding helmet use was included in the clinical description in 35 (13%) cases. Roll-overs and falls were the main mechanisms listed when tasking quad-bike related aeromedical retrievals.
Discussion and conclusions Quad-bike related retrievals are being undertaken in Queensland, yet represent a small proportion of all quad-bike cases seen by medical professionals. The data lacks fidelity regarding the situation that precedes the need for aeromedical retrieval; however the use of existing quad-bike trauma and riding injury prevention stratagems are warranted, including use of helmets, rider age restrictions, crush protection devices and communicating with others regarding destination.