Quad bike safety regulations in the UK and Ireland

Ireland is looking to implement mandatory quad bike training and helmet-wearing to help prevent serious injury and fatal accidents from occurring.

quad bike on a muddy slope.

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA), in 2019, started a consultation process on an update to the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) (Amendment) Regulations which includes safety measures around All-Terrain Vehicles (quad bikes).

The regulations are currently with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation and will likely come into legislation later this year. This is an Irish regulatory update and will have no impact on the UK.

Farmers Guide caught up with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to see what the current advice is for the UK:

In Great Britain, there is no legislation that specifically states a quad bike operator must wear a helmet.

However, health and safety legislation is designed to be aspirational, not prescriptive, as duty holders are expected to take responsibility for managing their own site health and safety within the parameters of the law. If duty holders conduct a suitable and sufficient risk assessment of operating quad bikes then they should come to no other conclusion than that wearing a helmet is mandatory, due to the high level of risk.

Many fatalities occur due to head injuries from vehicle overturns and operators being thrown from or crushed by the vehicle.

An HSE spokesperson said: “We continue to be concerned by the high fatality rates. On average 30 people, a year are killed as a result of agricultural activities. This includes farmers, farmworkers, contractors, children and members of the public.

“HSE continues to follow its published intervention strategy and its work with the industry to take ownership of the issues and drive improvements in the management of risk. Our efforts and targeted interventions are wide-ranging and include work with the farm safety partnerships in England, Scotland and Wales. Inspection, investigation work and enforcement activities continue.

“Training, experience and active riding are not enough on their own to prevent the consequences of a serious head injury, so our view is that a helmet is necessary.

“One point to note is that this applies to the traditional ‘quad’ bike, while ‘side by side’ vehicles have rollover protection and seatbelts designed to keep the operator inside the vehicle in the event of an overturn.”



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