THRILL-seekers are being urged to keep safety in mind while riding on quad bikes.
The warning from Northumbria Police comes following two deaths this year on machines where neither person was wearing a helmet.
Lyndsay Young, 21, died in a quad bike crash in North Seaton on April 17, after the bike hit a tree. A male was seriously injured in the accident.
And on June 4, a 34-year-old died in an accident in Gateshead.
Chief Inspector Sarah Pitt said: “We have had a two tragic examples in recent months of people being killed whilst using quad bikes without a helmet.
“Although there is no legal requirement to wear a helmet, it can mean the difference between life and death in a crash.
“Quad bikes are designed principally for off-road use, with special low-pressure tyres and – in most cases – a fixed back axle which makes cornering on hard surfaces difficult.
“As a result, quads handle completely differently from cars or motorbikes – they can overturn easily if mishandled.
“Anyone using a quad bike should read the manufacturer’s handbook so that they understand the vehicle’s controls and that all relevant safety, operating and maintenance requirements are observed.
“As with all powered vehicles, site conditions and the weather can have a significant effect on the vehicle’s handling, and these should be assessed each time a quad bike is used.”
Police advice for quad bike users:
n do not operate a quad bike while under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
n always keep both hands on the handle bars and both feet on the foot rests;
n helmets should be worn at all times;
n always keep a safe distance of five to ten metres between bikes to allow safe braking and avoid dust, spray or stones that may be thrown up;
n do not make sharp turns at high speed;
n never use the brakes when turning, use the brakes to slow down well before turning.