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Quads on the Road
Quad bikes have always been considered to be agricultural vehicles (although there are many that are used for leisure on land to which the public does not have general access) and are often registered as agricultural vehicles used for solely for the purposes of agriculture, horticulture or forestry. During the course of this use there may be a small amount of road use in much the same way as a farmer uses an agricultural tractor.
If you want to ride an agricultural quad bike (also known as an all-terrain vehicle or ATV) it must be type approved, registered and taxed, it can only be ridden by someone who has passed their car driving test and holds a full driving licence and is at least 17 years old.
The Quad Bike as a road vehicle
Before you can ride a quad bike on the road it must firstly be type approved in line with one of the following:
UK National Type Approval (Small Series)
UK Motorcycle Single Vehicle
If you want to ride your quad bike on the road, it's essential that its construction meets the standard laid down by the Department of Transport and EU Regulation. It must also comply with legislation currently in force so that it meets European and UK safety and environmental standards
Under UK law a vehicle is classified as a quad bike, if it has four wheels and has an unladen weight of 550Kgs or more. This means that it is classified as a Private Light Goods vehicle and will be taxed as such and requires a full driving licence to use it on the public highway. Quad bikes do not conform to the definition of a 'motorcycle' and therefore cannot be taxed in the 'motorcycle' tax class. You cannot use a motorcycle driving licence to ride a road legal quad bike.
A road legal quad is also required to comply with the Road Traffic Act 1988. This means that it must be built to the proper standard required by law and conform to the following requirements:
It must display number plates, back and front
It must be taxed
It must be insured
It must have a valid MOT certificate, if over three years old
It must have lights, indicators, road legal tyres, horn, speedometer, mirrors and every other element that would allow it to pass an MOT inspection.
N.B Quads that are registered and ridden on the road must pass an MOT once they are three years old.
Few garages have suitable testing ramps for ATVs and MOT testers can be inexperienced or unable to pilot an ATV safely to carry out the necessary brake test, so it always makes sense to choose a test station with recent experience of carrying out MOT's for quads and where the tester has the skills and credentials to road-test the machine.
The quad test costs £50.35 and takes 45 minutes.
Checks made include:
Front number plate
Lights, reflectors and horn
Steering and suspension
Two rear view mirrors
Wheel bearings, rear wheels and tyres which must have an E-mark for road use and at least 1.6mm of tread
Working hazard lights; when the ignition is switched off
Quads are currently exempt from emissions testing
It is essential that you take safety precautions when riding a quad on the road. Though they are not legal requirements, the safety tips below are the minimum safety precautions one should take before riding a quad on the road.
Read your machine's Owners Manual and familiarise yourself with the importance of all warning labels displayed on your ATV.
Never ride on public roads unless your machine is a Quadricycle that has been specifically manufactured for this purpose and complies with the relevant type approval code for that particular model of Quadricycle and you hold the correct type of Driving Licence and Insurance.
Never ride under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
Never carry a passenger unless your machine has been specifically designed and manufactured to do so.
Ride an ATV that's right for your age and experience.