I’ve noticed that some quad bikes do not have a front numberplate. Is this legal?

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Car Clinic: I've noticed some quad bikes do not have licence plates. Is this legal?

Q. I’ve noticed that quad bikes being driven on a road near my home do not have a front numberplate. Is this legal?
SG, Grantham, Lincolnshire

A. Any quad bike used on a public road must be registered with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and its owner will need at least third-party insurance.

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Now things get muddier. Quad bikes used solely for agriculture, horticulture or forestry should be licensed as a light agricultural vehicle, must have no more than one seat and should be driven no further than 1.5km (just under a mile) on public roads. This allows farmers to travel between fields without needing a valid MoT or having to pay road tax.

Any non-agricultural quad bike on the road is classified as a private and light goods (PLG) vehicle and must have a valid MoT (if it’s more than three years old). Its owner must pay duty according to the vehicle’s weight and engine size.

The advice the government gives online regarding numberplates is confusing, though, as it states that light agricultural vehicles need “a numberplate” (singular) while those registered as a PLG need “a front and rear numberplate”. However, having discussed this with the DVLA, we can now clarify that any quad bike used on public roads has to display a numberplate at the front and a numberplate at the rear. It is not mandatory to wear a helmet when riding a quad on the roads, but it is advisable.

Sunday Times Driving Car Clinic: Emma Smith, consumer advice

Emma Smith is a journalist specialising in consumer issues and is a regular Driving contributor – read more from Emma here.

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