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Quad Bikes Explained

Quad Bikes or ATV (All Terrain Vehicle)

Quad bikes are the sit-astride four wheel bikes with handlebars. The farming community tends to call them ATVs, while the forestry calls them ATCs (All Terrain Cycles). Leisure users tend to use the term Quad Bike. We use the term interchangeably!

ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) is the general term used to describe a vehicle designed for off-road use. This could include quad bikes, Landrovers, Argo-Cats etc.

Lighting requirements

If a agricultural quad is only used on the public road between sunrise and sunset and is not fitted with any front or rear position lamp then under Regulation 4(3) of the Road Vehicle Lighting Regulations 1989 as amended (RVLR) the vehicle is exempt from having to be fitted with any lamp or reflector, and the rest of the advice on lighting in this leaflet can be ignored. However, in this case the driver is required to make hand signals to indicate that he is slowing down or changing direction.

Many agricultural quads would not be able to take advantage of this exemption without their use on the road being curtailed, especially during the winter months.

If the owner decides to opt for the full complement of lighting, to allow night time usage, then the requirements of RVLR must be complied with. Regulation 18 of RVLR requires vehicles to be fitted with lamps, reflectors, rear markings and devices, as specified in Schedule 1 of these regulations. Table 1 of this schedule lists the types of lamp with which motor vehicles with three or more wheels are required to be fitted, and specifies the exceptions to the requirement for each lamp type. These exceptions typically refer to the vehicle type, maximum speed and ‘first used’ date, but sometimes refers to the weight or dimensions of the vehicle

Lighting on non-agricultural ("leisure") quads

For a quadricycle or quad bike registered since July 2003, and registered as a standard private vehicle (i.e. not registered as an agricultural vehicle), the lighting requirements are slightly different. Since July 2003, new quads that are intended for road use have been required to comply with European regulations and must be inspected before registration. These are slightly different from the regulations mentioned above and in general more stringent – for instance the option of having no lights at all on the vehicle is not available.

Number of passengers

An agricultural quad is not permitted to carry passengers.

For leisure purposes, a quad is only allowed to carry passenger(s) if the manufacturer has designed the vehicle to carry passengers and provided appropriate seat(s).