All-terrain vehicles (ATVs), Quad bikes and side-by-side utility vehicles

ATVs such as quad bikes and side-by-side utility vehicles are designed to cope with a wide variety of off-road conditions, but if used carelessly can very rapidly become unstable.

Quad bike ATVs

Many quad bike fatalities in the UK have been caused by head injuries. Helmets would have prevented most, if not all, of these deaths. You should always wear a suitable helmet when riding a quad bike.

The long seat on a quad bike allows operators to shift their body weight backwards and forwards for different slope conditions, a technique known as 'active' riding. It is not for carrying passengers.

To help reduce the risks:

Never carry a child as a passenger; it is illegal and will reduce your ability to control the ATV. Children under 13 years old are prohibited from using an ATV at work. Over-13s should only ride ATVs – of an appropriate size and power – after formal training on a low-power ATV. 

Example of a sit-astride ATV:

Sit astride ATV

Any vehicle designed to travel on four low pressure tyres on unpaved surfaces, with a seat designed to be straddled by the operator and with handlebars for steering control. These vehicles are intended to be used by a single operator without a passenger. May also be referred to as Quad bikes.

Side-by-side utility ATVs

These vehicles have conventional sit-in seats with a steering wheel and pedals.  They may have a second row of seats and usually have a rear cargo deck or bed allowing goods to be carried.  Although the driver does not need to use active riding techniques to ensure stability the correct distribution of weight is still important.

To help reduce the risks follow the general guidance for quad bikes stated above but also:

For more detailed guidance see Safe Use of ATVs in agriculture and forestry AIS33

Example of a side by side ATV:

Side by side ATV

Small utility vehicles in which the driver and passenger sit alongside each other in conventional (ie. sit-in) seats. Most side-by-side vehicles are capable of carrying two occupants in this way; however, some vehicles are equipped with a second row of seating.