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What licence do I need for a quad bike?

What licence do I need for a quad bike?

An ATV (all-terrain vehicle, or quad bike) can be an exciting and useful off-road vehicle. ATVs are described as a motorized off-highway vehicle designed to travel on four low-pressure or non-pneumatic tires, having a seat designed to be straddled by the operator and handlebars for steering control. But how do you legally drive one – and what licence do you need for it?

Who can ride an ATV?

To ride a quad bike you need to have passed your driving test. What’s more, typical quad bikes cannot be used on the road because they do not meet road safety standards. Check with the manufacturer if your quad bike has been approved for road use when you purchase it. 

What licence do I need for a quad?

To drive a quad bike you need a licence in the UK. Specifically, to drive a quad bike on the road you need to have a full car licence or a category B1 licence if it was issued before January 1997. A B1 driving licence category would be motor vehicles not exceeding 550kg.

How can I use my ATV on the road?

Quad bikes must be approved, registered, taxed and have an MOT (if needed) to be used on the road. For a start, registering your ATV will require signing up with the DVLA – plus you’ll need front and rear plates highlighting your registration number. Then, you’ll need to ensure that you notify the government and pay limited use tax class for bikes used on the road. Once you’ve completed these steps you need to check to see if you need an MOT: ATVs that are over three years old will need to have a valid MOT certificate. 

How old do I have to be?

To ride an ATV you need to have reached a certain age too. This age is set at 17. Remember, you cannot use any other motorcycle licence to ride a road legal quad bike. There is one exception to this rule though. Anyone receiving the higher level of mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance might be entitled to special dispensation. In this case, the minimum age is 16 years.


Finally, to be eligible to drive an ATV in the UK, you need third party insurance. A comprehensive package should include accident breakdown recovery, legal protection in accidents that weren’t your fault and bike accessory cover.

Riding an ATV can be both fun and useful – especially if you need to be driving on difficult off-road terrain. By following the above advice you should be all set to legally drive an ATV in the UK.


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