Some people say that riding a quad makes them look cool. I've never ridden one, but I can attest to that; the ones I've seen doing it do look incredible. In the end, it is not about how badass riding a quad makes someone look; an ATV (all-terrain vehicle) is more than looks. And even though it says it on the name, all-terrain, can they be used on the streets?
If you find yourself the owner of a quad and wish to use it on the streets, finding out your local's laws for ATV use should be your top priority. Some states already allow them, but most would require modifications such as adding a horn, headlights, brake lights, and a proper license plate.
An all-terrain vehicle, also known most popularly as a quad bike or simply a quad, is a vehicle that travels on low-pressure tires along with handlebars for steering control. Their origin dates back to the nineteenth century, and it was designed as a form of horseless carriage for road use.
Why Buy A Quad?
Do people get quads because of fun or functionality? The answer is, of course, both. Quads are versatile vehicles that can be ridden for lots of fun and offer a wide range of practical applications. People use ATVs on farms, the woods, the beach, or right in your backyard. Look at seven ways to use your quad:
- Snowplowing. If you live up north, the snow can be a beautiful sight or a dangerous thing. Having to struggle to get to your car when the driveway is covered in snow is not the best way to start your day, but you can plow your way into the road with this type of vehicle.
- Gardening. If you are in the gardening business, a quad can help with the slaying of weeds in the yard. No more killing your back with a backpack sprayer; now just put it right beside you.
- Camping. With a quad, you can carry all the gear and supplies needed for your next camping trip.
- Winching. Stuck in a dirt situation? Pull out that winch and hook it up to the quad—no need to call the tow company.
- Hunting. Out hunting and finally made a kill. For some, it would mean having to drag that venison, but for someone with a quad, it will be a piece of cake.
- Field plowing. Getting the land ready for planting doesn't require big machinery. This type of vehicle can help you start with the crops.
- Lawn mowing. No more getting tired and bored of walking as if you were in a maze. Mowing the lawn on a quad will never be the same.
ATVs are not only for personal use. Many industries use them because of their maneuverability and off-roading ability.
- Border patrol agents use all-terrain vehicles to patrol along the rugged border with Mexico.
- In law enforcement, police departments are choosing quads to deploy officers quickly.
- In the military, special forces, in particular, like squads because of the extra mobility they provide; and because with these, they can conduct reconnaissance patrols quickly.
- In search and rescue operations, they can send out quads to secure a search perimeter, attempting to ensure that no one ends up moving further away from their last point of contact.
- In small-scale forestry, quads have been used to transport fencing materials, carry fodder, and round livestock.
Are Quads Safe For The Road?
Quad vehicles are not legal to use because most bikes don't meet the road safety standards for their use. Some people may deem AVTs as dangerous vehicles since back in the 80s when all manufacturers ceased production of three-wheelers in light of safety concerns.
People would think that with motorcycles having only two wheels, a three-wheeler would be safer, but it isn't. Manufacturers then decided to focus on making them with four wheels instead as it would provide more balance. Some reasons why they are not as safe for the road as any other vehicle are as follows:
- They have a different tire type; wider and bigger, designed for dirt and rough roads, and not paved or flat terrains. The balance in a smooth surface could be affected by this.
- The weight, which is twice as heavy as a dirt bike, is why quads are only recommended for people over 16, as they would have better handling of this type of vehicle.
- Road safety features are missing in this type of vehicle. Not having a rear side mirror, seatbelts, airbags, and some more make it the least safe option among vehicles.
Are There Street-Legal Quads?
While quads might not be the best choice of vehicle out there, they still make a good alternative when you need to move from one place to another. And seeing that quads are so versatile and are not only for personal use but also by industries, manufacturers decided to start building quad bikes safer for the road. Nothing better than buying something already made to work in the streets. Some of the ten legal road-quad bikes this year are as follows:
- Yamaha YFM700R / YFM700R SE
- Yamaha YFZ450R / YFZ450R SE
- Yamaha Kodiak 700 EPS
- Quadzilla Aeon Cobra 400
- CFMOTO CFORCE
- Suzuki QuadSport Z400 (LT-Z400)
- Polaris Scrambler XP 1000 EPS
- Honda Fourtrax (TRX420)
- KYMCO MXU 550i
- Can-am Renegade
If the resources are available, go for one that is equipped for road use already. No questions asked!
How Do You Make A Quad Street Legal?
When you already own a quad and really can't afford a new one, does this mean you can't use the one you have on the road? Of course, you can. But to make a quad safe for the road, some modifications will most likely have to be made, and it will only run you a couple of hundred bucks.
- Add a horn. And a horn is not a big thing to add but is crucial as you want others on the road to remind them where you are going.
- Turn signals. This is a given here; having turn signals is a must as you want to let the people behind you, in front, to the sides to know you are there and you are turning. Besides, not having them at all will get you a ticket right away.
- Mirrors, rear side mirrors save lives. Even though turning our heads is sometimes necessary, there are mirrors for that job—no need to hurt your neck.
- Tires. Getting street tires will get you a better grip and less chance of tipping over when taking a corner. You can check if the ones you have are already approved by the Department of Transportation.
- Lights. All the lights you can get can help but most importantly, tail, head, and brake lights.
Is it worth it investing money in making your quad safe for the road? It depends on whether you'll need it or not. If you live somewhere where there are a lot of trails that you can access the road from, it is worth the money. In other places, such as a desert, where you would still have to travel more than 10 miles to go anywhere worth your time, a quad might not be the best choice.
Is The Quad Life For You?
Deciding on whether you will be given good use of your quad on the streets is the first thing to consider. If it is, then finding your states' requirements for your quad will be the next step. Depending on your location, you'll need to make more or fewer modifications than others, but in the end, those changes will be in your best interest and for your own safety.
Learn More: How Much Is a Quad Bike?
Shawn Manaher loves to play with new toys and dive into new hobbies. As a serial entrepreneur, work definitely comes first but there is always room for hobbies.