Driving an All-Terrain Vehicle, or ATV can be great fun. It is a fantastic way to get out into the countryside and rough it a little, to go to places you can’t necessarily reach by car, or just experience the journey in a new and exciting way. There are, however, certain aspects that you should consider before you plan to rent or buy your own ATV. Here we will look at some of the top questions when it comes to ATVs and quad bikes and help you decide if driving one is indeed what you want to do.
Is an ATV safer than a motorcycle?
In general, an ATV is no safer than a motorcycle. Indeed, many consider ATVs to be much more dangerous to drive and use than motorbikes, usually because of the injuries sustained if something does go wrong.
There are several supposed reasons for this, most notably the added weight of the ATV playing a role in the impact of the crash. This can be lessened by ensuring that you or your family members are using the right size ATV for their age and weight. By getting a bigger and more powerful ATV you can put yourself more at risk if you are younger and smaller than one suited to your size.
ATVs have no seatbelts, safety cages or roll bars and a high centre of gravity, so are at risk of rolling or crashing while going down steep drops, going over dunes or when meeting another rider. Around a third of accidents happen while carrying a passenger which again may impact the balance, and the majority don’t wear helmets. When an ATV crashes the machine is more likely to roll on top of you and cause greater injury than a motorbike. In most bike crashes, while injuries often occur, the rider is generally thrown clear of the bike and so sustains less serious injuries more often than ATV drivers.
Another issue is that people feel safer with four wheels and therefore take more risks, and also that some people are more relaxed about wearing helmets on ATVs than motorcycles. For many reasons quad bikes are more dangerous than motorbikes, though much like anything you can take steps to be safer like wearing a helmet, getting a smaller and lighter ATV, and driving at a sensible speed.
Is a quad bike road legal?
Quad bikes are absolutely road legal as long as you meet the criteria, though you should double-check for your own bike, and for different countries and states if you are in places like the US. In the UK as long as you have the right licence you can drive your quad bike on the road. The bike must be road legal, meaning it meets the safety standards and rules set out, so make sure you check that your quad bike does before you buy it. You also must have both a front and rear licence plate, unlike motorcycles which only need one at the back.
Helmets are strongly recommended in some areas but required in others, but you should always wear one regardless of the law. Remember – safety first! You must also have full insurance before you head out onto the road. Children under 13 cannot drive or be a passenger legally on a quad bike so make sure any young children are transported separately. You can drive a quad bike legally at 17 much like any other kind of vehicle you can get a licence for.
If you choose not to drive your quad bike to where you are planning to off-road it, you can usually easily bring your quad bike in the back of a trailer. Make sure you have the right elements to transport your vehicle safely and comfortably like ATV ramps by SureWeld, which are made to adapt well to different heights and surfaces.
What licence do you need for a quad bike?
You need a full licence to ride a quad bike on the road, either a full driving licence or full motorcycle licence, category B1 (issued before 1997). In the UK you do not need a licence to drive a quad bike off-road, though you can register your bike to help the police in case it gets stolen.
If you have a quad bike for agricultural purposes it must be registered in that category and cannot carry passengers, while road-legal quad bikes can carry passengers if they have the right number of seats and are designed to do so.
In general, a person over 17 with a full driving or motorbike licence can drive a road-legal bike on the roads and doesn’t need a licence off-road. If you are in any doubt make sure you check with the manufacturer of your quad bike as well as your local area rules and country’s laws.
To Sum Up:
- ATVs and motorcycles both come with serious dangers and risks, but ATV accidents are more likely to be serious or fatal due to overconfidence, lack of safety gear and the weight of the machine.
- In order to minimise your risk be sure to drive sensibly, use any and all safety gear you can and be careful going down steep drops and other high-risk areas.
- It is legal to drive a quad bike on the roads in the UK and many other places provided the bike and you both meet the required standards and the law.
- Your quad bike must meet certain safety standards and have licence plates on both the front and back, and you must have your driving or motorcycle licence and no passengers with you when on the road.
- You must have a full driving licence and insurance to drive on the roads, but you don’t need a licence to drive your quad bike off-road.
ATVs and quad bikes can be tons of fun for adults and teens alike, so make sure that you know the rules and play it safe so that you can head out on or off-roading in relative safety at all times.