Agricultural Quad Bikes
This fact sheet is produced as general guidance about the legislative requirements in Great Britain for agricultural quad bikes. Every effort has been made to ensure that it is factually correct but recipients should check with the producers of this document if they are unsure about the validity of a particular regulation after the date of publication or if they have reason to believe any part is not correct or is now out of date.
Regulations for Agricultural Quads
An agricultural quadricycle (or "quad") is a light four wheeled vehicle intended for off-road usage, which is registered with DVLA as an agricultural vehicle and is used as a working vehicle for farming, forestry or similar purposes. Use on the public road for short distances is permitted as long as the vehicle is registered for road use and has a number plate, and complies to the relevant lighting and construction requirements described below.
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.
Assuming a agricultural quad was first used on or after 1st April 1986, then the main determining factor for the types of lamp that the vehicle is required to be fitted with is the maximum speed of the vehicle. The maximum speed is:
“the speed which a vehicle is incapable, by reason of its construction, of exceeding on the level under its own power when fully laden.”
The table below lists the types of lamp that an agricultural quad is required to be fitted with, according to its maximum speed:
* Front and rear direction indicators are NOT required if the unladen mass of the quad is less than 255kg.
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.
Additional features for agricultural quads
An agricultural motor vehicle which capable of being driven at a speed exceeding 20 mph is required to be fitted with a speedometer [Regulation 35(2)(c) of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, as amended.]
For leisure purposes all quadricycles are required to be fitted with a speedometer to meet either European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval or UK Single Vehicle Approval.
An agricultural motor vehicle capable of being driven at a speed exceeding 20 mph is required to be fitted with a horn [Regulation 37(1)(b) of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, as amended.]
For leisure purposes all quads are required to be fitted with a horn to meet either European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval or UK Single Vehicle Approval.
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).