This covers safe working practices to be adopted when using

a sit-astride all-terrain vehicle (ATV or quad), often known as an ATV or quad quad
bike. These are most commonly four-, but can be three- or even
six-, wheeled vehicles designed for off-road use.
All-terrain vehicles
for advice on other types of ATV or quad.
This leaflet does not cover the additional safety requirements when
applying pesticides or operating powered ancillary equipment from
ATV or quads and is not a substitute for proper training.
You can use this leaflet, along with the manufacturer’s handbook, as
part of the risk assessment process to help identify the controls to put
in place when using ATV or quads.
Personal protective equipment (PPE)
Use the following PPE:
Suitable head protection must be worn, eg a motorcycle
helmet which meets BS 6658 or UN ECE regulation 22.05, or
an ATV or quad helmet/other head protection which meets BS EN 1384.
Eye protection (a visor or safety glasses to EN 166), against
flying insects, dust or branches.
Protective boots with good grip and ankle support (complying
with EN 345-1), when loading or unloading the ATV or quad.
Gloves, for loading and unloading.
Non-snag outer clothing. The use of high-visibility ATV or quad clothing

may also be appropriate.


Carry a personal first-aid kit including a large wound dressing
First aid at work: Your questions answered



Do not carry passengers on an ATV or quad or Quad Bike unless it has been
designed for, and is suitable for, that purpose. Never carry

passengers in a trailer behind an ATV or quad.


ATV or quad capabilities and responses vary. If an ATV or quad is changed the

operator may require additional training


The manufacturer’s recommendations for operation and
maintenance must be followed at all times.
Pre-start checks
Check the brake operation - footbrakes and handbrakes.
7 Check the tyre condition, for wear and visible damage.

Check the tyre pressures, using a pressure gauge capable of
reading low pressures accurately (1 psi difference can cause
control problems).
Check the steering, for smooth and positive operation.
Check the throttle, for smooth operation in all steering positions.
Check the security of the wheel nuts.
Check the security of the seat, carriers and loads.
Check all lights including warning lights.
Check the clutch (if manual), for smooth and positive
Check you have enough fuel for the planned journey.
Emergency procedures
Ensure that a designated and responsible person knows the
daily work programme and suitable emergency contact
procedures. Where possible use a mobile phone or radio and a
pre-arranged call-in system.
Ensure the operators can provide the emergency services
with enough detail for them to be found if there is an accident, eg
the grid reference, the distance from the main road, the type of
access (suitable for car/four-wheel drive/emergency service
vehicles). Know the location details before they are needed in an



Emergency planning
Starting and stopping
Do not run the engine for long periods when parked in
enclosed spaces.
Sit astride the ATV or quad when starting the engine. (On certain
models with a pull start this may not be possible.)
Ensure the gearbox is in neutral when starting.
Always park the ATV or quad in a suitable position with the parking
brake applied.
Route planning
Plan your route to avoid severe slopes and unstable ground
Always survey deep vegetation to identify hidden obstructions.
Plan regular routes to avoid rocks, stumps, drainage ditches
and steep slopes. Drainage ditches should be piped or bridged
on regular routes. Thatch soft spots where necessary. Luminous
marker posts may be used on permanent routes to help the
operator in poor weather or poor light. Remove the lower
branches of trees on regular routes.

Drive with due care and attention at all times and be aware of
other forest users.
Only select and use routes that are within the capabilities of
the ATV or quad and the operator.
Drive with feet on the footrests at all times.
Do not ‘ride’ the gear change lever as this can put the
gearbox into neutral.
Use speeds appropriate to the terrain and tasks.
Position the body to increase stability on slopes.
Avoid changing gear on slopes. Select a suitable low gear
before negotiating the slope or obstacle.
Be aware that:
front wheel brakes are either omitted on some ATV or quads, or may
have reduced efficiency when rolling back;
on four-wheel-drive machines, using any brake will operate
both front and rear wheels;
some ATV or quads have hydrostatic drives with no engine braking
at zero revs, therefore maintain slight revs on downhill travel.
On ATV or quads without a differential, the driving technique used should
allow for the difference between inside and outside wheel speeds
during turns:
at slow speeds, shift body weight to the footrest on the
outside of the turn while leaning the upper body into the turn;
at faster speeds, shift body weight to the inside footrest while
leaning the upper body into the turn.
On paved surfaces, increased grip may prevent wheel slip on
inside wheels and reduce turning efficiency - a sudden change in
traction may cause a change in direction.
Sharp or quick application of the throttle in a low gear may cause
the ATV or quad to overturn backwards, especially when travelling up slopes.
If travelling behind another ATV or quad/vehicle, ensure adequate
separation to permit safe braking and to avoid any dust, spray or
stones that may be thrown up.
Driving on difficult terrain
Only drive within the limits of visibility.
Maintain an even throttle while negotiating slopes.
Avoid side slopes and difficult obstacles by route planning.
Where side slopes are unavoidable lean and steer slightly uphill.

To ascend slopes:
select the appropriate low gear at the foot of the slope;
keep your weight as far forward as possible (lean over the
align the ATV or quad directly uphill;
be competent in techniques to recover from a failed hill climb.
To descend slopes:
select the appropriate low gear at the top of the slope and
use engine braking (if available);
keep your weight as far back on the seat as possible;
align the machine directly downhill;
if needed, use only back brakes (be aware that on four-wheel-
drive machines, operating the rear brake may also have a
braking effect on the front wheels);
be aware of the danger of brakes locking causing a skid;
correct skids by releasing the brake and straightening the ATV or quad;
very steep slopes need a run-out area at the bottom.
It is not possible to set a maximum safe slope. The ability to
negotiate a slope safely will vary with:
the competence of the operator;
the type of ATV or quad being used (eg two- or four-wheel drive);
the load weight and distribution, including mounted or trailed
the tyre type, condition and pressure;
the ground conditions, including soil type, evenness and
the weather conditions - dry, wet, frosty etc.
In wet and boggy areas:
do not ford water deeper than 250 mm;
dismount from the upstream side of a stalled ATV or quad;
test brakes after driving through water;
be competent in debogging techniques.
Carrying loads
The operator needs to know:
the manufacturer’s recommended carrying limits;
the maximum front and rear load capacity;

the maximum ATV or quad load;
how front and rear loads will affect stability.
Loads must be properly secured and distributed to allow for
difficult terrain.
Heavy loads on the rear carrier must be counterbalanced
using ballast on the front carrier.
Trailed loads
When selecting trailed equipment look for:
overrun brakes;
a swivel hitch drawbar;
bead lock rims on wheels;
a low centre of gravity and a wide wheel track;
a long drawbar;
attachment points for securing the load.
The operator must know:
the maximum tow weight (trailer + load);
the maximum tongue weight (weight on hitch point);
the maximum combined tongue and rear carrier weight.
Attach all loads only to the towing hitch and no other part of
the ATV or quad.
Be aware that:
it is very difficult to unhitch a loaded trailer on a slope;
turning may be restricted when towing a trailer;
turning across slopes should be avoided.
When pushing an ATV or quad/trailer combination no person should
stand between the ATV or quad and the trailer.
Transporting ATV or quads
Before loading an ATV or quad bike onto a transport trailer, check the trailer
load capacity, lights, brakes etc.
After loading, ensure the ATV or quad bike is securely restrained. Do not
rely on the ATV or quad brakes to prevent movement on the trailer.
Road use
For use on roads, ATV or quad bikes need to comply with the
Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 and the
Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989. They also need to be
suitably insured and meet any vehicle excise duty requirement