CLOSE CALL: Jayden O'Connell, 17, almost lost his leg in a quad bike accident and wants to warn others of the danger.
CLOSE CALL: Jayden O'Connell, 17, almost lost his leg in a quad bike accident and wants to warn others of the danger. Kate Darvall

Jayden wants his near death experience to serve as a warning

JAYDEN O'Conner was just 12 years old when he was thrown from a quad bike and nearly died on a Murgon property.

Now 17, the Kingaroy State High School student said he remembered the day like it was yesterday.

"It was about five in the afternoon and I was about to go back into the house," he said.

"But just before I came in, the quad bike threw me off and I went rolling down a gully and crashed into a tree."

The only injury Jayden sustained from the crash was a fractured femur but he said it easily could have been a different result.

"If I hadn't been wearing a helmet I would have been killed," he said.

While he survived the crash, Jayden said his story didn't end there.

"A complication arose when my leg wasn't swelling as it should've been," he said.

"The doctors got me back into surgery but I nearly lost my leg.

"If I'd gone into surgery a couple of hours later, my leg would've been amputated." 

CLOSE CALL: After Jayden O'Connell, 17, almost lost his leg in a quad bike accident, he says he turned to two-wheelers for a safer ride.
CLOSE CALL: After Jayden O'Connell, 17, almost lost his leg in a quad bike accident, he says he turned to two-wheelers for a safer ride. Kate Darvall

After the ordeal, Jayden said he spent the next few months learning to walk again.

Now five years later, the Kingaroy teen said that day served as a cautionary tale for not only himself, but others.

"I'll never forget it, it's still in my mind," he said.

"Now I tell everyone to wear (a helmet).

"You get the odd couple that say 'it'll be fine' you know but that's what I was saying to myself too.

"And I ended up in a tree."

While Jayden has turned to two-wheel motorbikes, he said regardless of what bike you were on, common sense was the only reliable safety mechanism.

"As safe as you think you are, anything can happen," he said.

"In a sense, I think the quad bike makes it a bit more dangerous but, like anything, it comes down to the common sense of the rider." 

CLOSE CALL: Jayden O'Connell, 17, almost lost his leg in a quad bike accident and wants to warn others of the danger.
CLOSE CALL: Jayden O'Connell, 17, almost lost his leg in a quad bike accident and wants to warn others of the danger. Kate Darvall

Hot on the heels of Farm Safety Week, Jayden wants people to learn from his mistake rather than making their own.

"I'm not here to parent people or rouse them down but just say 'hey what you're doing might not be safe'," he said.

Farmsafe Australia's Richard Franklin said there was no simple answer and change needed to start with each individual rider.

Mr Franklin said helmets were "a must" but changing the law wasn't the answer.

"There are challenges with the law: How do you enforce it?" he said.

Mr Franklin said wearing a helmet simply fell under "appropriate risk control".

Mr Franklin said quad bikes were now the leading cause of farming fatalities and the risks shouldn't be ignored.

Safe Work Australia launched a nation-wide initiative which aimed to bring together industry, manufacturers and users to raise awareness of quad bike safety.

To learn more visit safeworkaustralia.gov.au. 

CLOSE CALL: After Jayden O'Connell, 17, almost lost his leg in a quad bike accident, he says he turned to two-wheelers for a safer ride.
CLOSE CALL: After Jayden O'Connell, 17, almost lost his leg in a quad bike accident, he says he turned to two-wheelers for a safer ride. Kate Darvall

 

Facts: 

In 2015 there were 22 quad bike fatalities, four in Queensland alone.

Half of those fatalities were workplace related and half were recreational

Half of all fatalities recorded in 2015 were related to rollovers.

There have been seven quad bike fatalities recorded since the beginning of 2016, three of which were in Queensland