Girl’s final words before quad bike crash
THE final words of a six-year-old who died after a quad bike accident have been revealed at an inquest into her death.
Myley Maxwell was not wearing a helmet when she died of blunt force head trauma after a quad bike being driven by a 13-year-old girl hit a tree on a rural property in the state's north in March 2017.
Myley had been visiting a 13-year-old friend for a birthday weekend with three others.
In a mobile phone video taken by one of the teenagers before the accident, the girls are shown laughing, singing and calling out to each other as they rode.
The girl steering the bike Myley was on momentarily loses control and the six- year-old girl can be heard saying: "I hated that."
People who allow children to ride adult-sized quad bikes could be prosecuted if the NSW government acts on the recommendations of a coroner who investigated the "entirely preventable" death of a little girl.
"Tragically, Myley is not the first child to have died in this way," deputy state coroner Elizabeth Ryan said on Thursday.
"She and her friends had been permitted by adults to use quad bikes in ways that were far outside their intended usage, and in complete disregard for warnings prominently displayed on the quad bikes." The coroner recommended the introduction of new laws including the creation of a criminal offence for adults who allow children under 16 to ride adult-sized quad bikes.
Ms Ryan also recommended amending legislation to allow police who have a reasonable suspicion of such offences being committed to enter private property to investigate, and mandatory licensing for adult riders.
The coroner dedicated a significant portion of her findings to recommendations made after previous inquests into similar deaths, labelling it a "disappointing state of affairs" that they have not been implemented in NSW. These include those made in 2015 mandating that helmets be worn, mandating training and prohibiting children from using adult-sized quad bikes, which were also repeated after nine quad bike-related deaths in Queensland and again in 2017 after seven deaths in Tasmania.
"In Myley's case, multiple children were riding a vehicle designed for a single adult, without helmets and without formal training," Ms Ryan said. The coroner cited Safe Work Australia statistics that 18 of the 125 quad bike- related deaths in Australia between 2011 and 2018 were children aged under 16. There were also two separate deaths of young children riding quad bikes in April this year, she said.
Ms Ryan said adults "continue to put children at risk" and the way the five girls were allowed to use two adult quad bikes on the day of Myley's death "was wholly inappropriate and unsafe".
"Myley's death was a tragedy that was entirely preventable. Her family is heartbroken by her death, and the four young girls who were with her are still struggling with their feelings of shock and sadness," Ms Ryan said. "Like Myley's family, I hope that her death will prompt positive changes that will reduce the risk of other families being devastated in this way."