Like many forms of alternative transport in the UK, quad bikes are often the subject of negative media coverage.

For example, farmers have often warned of the dangers posed by such vehicles in rural communities, using Health and Safety Executive figures that revealed 26 all-terrain vehicle (ATV)-related deaths since 2010.

However, this is still a relatively low number when compared to similar vehicles, while the use of quad bikes in the UK is also heavily regulated. But what are the current rules around quad biking on these shores?

Getting Started – Is Quad Biking Legal?

Let’s start with the basics; as most quad bikes and so-called “ATVs” are designed for off-road use only.

This is borne out by the innate design of such vehicles, which don’t feature indicators, number plates or underlying safety features found on normal roadworthy vehicles.

What’s more, quad bikes are also designed for grass and mud rather than tarmac, which in turn means that most models are more difficult to control on the road than they are in a field due to the way the rear axle is built.

However, it is possible to register your quad bike for use on the road, so long as the vehicle is fitted with official license plates and you’re equipped with a full car license to drive it.

Similarly, you’ll be legally required to procure quad bike insurance, which protects both you and other road users in the event of an accident or collision.

Do You Need a License for Off-Road Use?

Of course, the design of quad bikes and ATVs makes them ideal for off-road use, and if you plan to use your vehicle for this purpose, you won’t need a full driver’s license.

However, the key point here is that you won’t be able to drive your quad bike on the road at all without a full license, and it’s important to follow this rule if you’re to remain on the right side of the law.

The same rule broadly applies to agricultural use in fields, although the vehicle will have to be registered as a light agricultural vehicle for this purpose.

In some instances, you may also want to take your agricultural vehicle out on the road, meaning that you’ll have to license the quad bike for this specific purpose. The vehicle must also have a number plate and third-party insurance, although the quad bike won’t need a regular MOT in such a scenario.

In terms of safety, it’s also recommended that quad bike riders wear a helmet at all times, although this isn’t currently a legal requirement. Similarly, you should check with each quad bike’s specification before carrying a passenger, to ensure that the ATV in question is able to safely fulfil this purpose.

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