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  • Writer's pictureBeckside Machinery

Quad bike licences and what you need to be road ready

Updated: Aug 3, 2020

All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) or quad bikes are primarily used for off-road; hence their build and design do not always meet the required safety standards that are needed for driving on UK roads.

However, this is not to say that you can’t ride your quad on the road, but rather it has to be the right quad.

A road-legal quad.

category 1 vehicle type for quad bikes

A quad that has passed all safety requirements is designed in a slightly different way and is insured, taxed and ready to go - if in doubt the team at Beckside Machinery is always on hand to help.

We have a range of new and used quad bikes for sale, and we can help advise on the most suitable road legal and off-road quad for you, as well as carry out regular maintenance and services when required.

What you need to ride your quad on UK roads

Registration Plates

All roadworthy quads must be appropriately registered in the right category (you can check this with the DVLA), and display number plates both at the front and back of the vehicle.

Driving licence

It is a legal requirement that you must have passed your driving test, be 17 years old and over, and hold a full, valid licence (Category B), or a B1 category licence if issued before the 1st January 1997.

Insurance Requirements

Third-party insurance cover is a minimum if using a quad on UK roads.  The authorities can still fine you if you are not covered by the relevant road insurance policies, so it’s important to check with your provider if you’re unsure.


MOT’s are required on bikes older than 3 years, as well as if they are used on the road.

Helmets and Safety Gear

It is not law or a legal requirement to wear a safety helmet while driving a quad bike, however, with the number of reported quad bike accidents rising, we would recommend the use of a crash helmet at all times.

Personal Protective Equipment and safety gear is also recommended. Items such as suitable footwear, trousers, and long sleeve tops and coats are all recommended when riding quads (both on and off-road).


If you’re using and driving your quad during the hours of darkness, then the quad will also have to comply with lighting requirements.  This will mean fitting the quad with white front lights, rear red lights, and rear red reflectors.

If you’re driving at speeds over 25mph, then you will also require main beam headlights, rear red fog lights, and red brake lights.


Passengers and children riding alongside or on the back of quads are only allowed if the quad is designed to carry passengers.  (Most standard quads are not designed to carry passengers; however, UTVs are – check with your quad bike manufacturer to find out more).

Ultimately the quad you choose to purchase for road use must be approved, registered, and taxed, and all relevant documentation and proof must be provided to the DVLA.

What you need to ride your quad off-road

If your quad is for off-road use only, then you won’t require a driving licence, and the quad itself won’t need to be registered or taxed.

(However, there is an off-road register where you can still record the details of your off-road bike, which can help police if your quad is ever stolen).

(Tax classes include limited use tax class for bikes used on the road, and; agricultural machine class for quad bikes not licensed for road use).

It’s important to note if you’re looking for a quad bike for sale that is suitable for horticultural, agricultural, and forestry work, it will have to be registered.  In these cases, it will be registered as a light agricultural vehicle. Under this registration, your quad bike will be considered as a concessionary vehicle, so it will be registered for zero-rated vehicle tax.

If you then require the quad to be used on the road, even to move from field to field, it must be licensed, registered, and insured; however, it won’t require an MOT, and it does not have to be taxed.

Kids over the age of 13 can ride quad bikes that are of an appropriate size and power on private land IF they have completed some form of formal training for driving an ATV first.

It can be confusing to know and get your head around what is legal and what is not when it comes to the law on quad bikes.

Fortunately, the team at Beckside Machinery stays abreast of all legislation changes and developments and can help you with any of your questions or queries.

Call us today on 0167 382 8965 or check out some of our latest quad bikes for sale online.

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