Quad bikes are extremely useful given their off-road capabilities. But most types of quad bikes are illegal to use on UK roads: they don’t meet the minimum safety requirements. When you’re purchasing a quad bike, therefore, it’s wise to consider what you plan on using it for. Whether it’s as a utility off-road vehicle, or actually something you want to use on UK roads, you’ll need to brush up on the different rules surrounding them.

Quad Bikes’ Rules For Different Uses in UK

Using a Quad Bike on UK Roads

There are a number of hoops to jump through to ensure that a quad bike can be used on the roads. Naturally, a full driving license is a must (or a category B1 license if it was issued before January 1997). First, you need to check with the manufacturer before buying the vehicle to ensure that it’s been approved for road use. If it meets safety requirements but hasn’t been formally approved, you could apply for approval from the government.

If the vehicle has been approved, then there are still a few additional steps. You’ll need to register the bike with the DVLA and stick registration plates on the front and back. Then, if the bike is over three years old, it’ll need a valid MOT certificate. Finally, you’ll need comprehensive third-party insurance for the bike.

Quad Bikes’ Rules For Different Uses in UK

Off-road Use

For off-road use, the process is simpler. You won’t need to register or tax your vehicle. However, there will be rules about where you can go. You won’t be permitted to drive around on council-owned land (such as parks) unless there is an explicitly permitted area. Plus, if you want to drive private off-road land you need permission from the owner.

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Agricultural Use

For agricultural use, the bike will have to be registered as a light agricultural vehicle. From here, the process is fairly similar to using a quad bike on the road. You will need registration, number plates, and the vehicle must be licensed for road use. Alongside this, you’ll need your driving license too.

But there is one key difference: you won’t be required to have a valid MOT certificate for this type of use. An important point to remember though is the type of situations you’ll be using the bike for. With agricultural use it’s likely that you’ll be driving on and off-road in the dark at some point – naturally, then, you’ll need to fit the bike with lights.


The different rules surround quad bikes can seem confusing. But by clearly working out what you want to do with the vehicle, you can plan ahead and purchase the correct vehicle – with the appropriate documentation – for what’s required.

All images by Pexels (Tima Miroshnichenko).

Published by Mike

Avid tech enthusiast, gadget lover, marketing critic and most importantly, love to reason and talk.

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