Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Can you drive quad bikes on UK roads?

Quad bikes on roads – all seems a little sketchy, doesn’t it? You’d be forgiven for thinking that driving a quad on a road is 100% illegal, but it’s actually perfectly allowed as long as certain conditions are met with regard to documentation and the bike itself.

Based off of the information provided from gov.uk, we’ve put together a brief summary of driving requirements for quads on the road, off-road and how things differ for those who use them in agricultural work.

Driving a quad on the roads – basic requirements

The legality of your quad on the road comes down to a few fundamentals:

  • Your quad bike must meet road safety standards. You can check if your bike is approved for road use via your manufacturer or apply for “type approval” if the bike is not yet approved but does meet safety requirements.
  • Your quad bike must be registered with the DVLA.
  • You bike must have front and back registration plates.
  • Quad bikes older than three years old must have a valid MOT certificate.
  • You’ll need a full car driving licence or category B1 licence if it was issued before January 1997.
  • You must have at least third-party insurance to drive the quad, although getting full quad bike insurance is recommended.
  • Crash helmets are a legal requirement in Northern Ireland, but only recommended in England, Scotland and Wales.
  • You can only carry passengers if the bike is fitted to do so. This is another feature you can check on with the manufacturer.

What about driving off-road?

Using a quad bike off-road doesn’t require a licence, taxing or registration – as long as you are using it exclusively off-road. Off-road users have the option of applying to the ‘off-road register’, which records the details of your bike and can be useful should your quad ever be stolen.

Rules for farmers

The conditions for farmers, or any work of an agricultural, horticultural or forestry-based nature, are subject to less legalities than on-road driving, but you still need to meet a number of requirements beyond the fairly unlimited parameters of off-road driving.

Quad bikes used for agricultural uses are permitted on roads without an MOT but must be registered, licenced, have a number plate and carry third party insurance. You are not required to pay vehicle tax on the quad, although it could be subject to certain taxes based on your use of the bike (limited use or agricultural machine class tax). Passengers aren’t permitted on agricultural quads as they should be built for one person only.

That’s the rules surrounding quad bike use in summary. If you require further information, the Department for Transport should be your next port of call.

Image credit: Shutterstock.com/Dean Clarke

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