April 18th 2005.
The AEA/OPEC's ATV/Quad Group has issued advice for dealers to clear up confusion about the use of ATVs on the public highway.
AEA Press Release, April 18th 2005:
Road Use of All Terrain Vehicles - Issues Explained
'Safety is no Accident'
The members of the ATV/Quad group that meet under the OPEC (Outdoor Power Equipment Council of the AEA) have put together the following guidelines on the subject of ATV road use.  These guidelines are aimed at assisting dealers who are faced on a daily basis with questions regarding this matter.  Please note that this document is only our interpretation of regulations current at the time of publication and should not be construed as legally binding.  We trust however that this information serves as a useful reference point for questions relating to this complex and often ambiguous issue.
How do you define an ATV?
The All Terrain Vehicle European Association (ATVEA) defines an ATV as:
"Any motorised vehicle, which is designed to travel on four low pressure tyres on unpaved surfaces, having a seat designed to be straddled by the operator and handlebars for steering control, and intended for use by a single operator and no passenger".
As you will note, this definition does not include vehicles designed for use on roads. The vast majority of machines used on public roads, which are similar in appearance to ATV's, are known as 'quadricycles'.
ATV`s designed for Utility use should comply with the requirements of the Mobile Machinery Directive (98/37 EC) and Electro Magnetic Compatibility Directive (89/336/EEC amended).
All Sports /Mini leisure ATVs need only comply with the EMC directive.
How do you define a Quadricycle?
With the introduction of Type Approval Directive 92/61/EC, two completely new categories of vehicles were created, these being "Quadricycles" and "Light Quadricycles". These new categories were designed primarily to accommodate light low performance cars popular in Europe such as those manufactured by Aixam & Piaggio.
92/61/EC defines these vehicles as:
"A Quadricycle is a vehicle with a maximum unladen mass of 400kg (550kg if intended for goods carrying) (excluding batteries if electric), with a maximum power of 15kw and must adhere to the technical requirements in Cat L5e.
A Light Quadricycle is a vehicle with a maximum unladen mass of 350kg (excluding batteries if electric), a maximum spark ignition engine capacity of 50cc, or a maximum power of 4kw, with a maximum design speed of 45kph, and must adhere to the technical requirements in Cat L7e."
In the UK the quadricycle category is recognised under a number of UK laws. To be able to drive either of the above it is necessary to hold a full car licence category B, or a full motorcycle licence if issued before Feb 1st 2001. A moped licence category P cannot be used for either machine type. For people wishing to drive either type of machine they must undertake the same test criteria as a car, therefore from 17 years of age on a provisional licence. 
Both types of vehicles are registered as cars and are therefore charged at the rate for the lowest Private light goods vehicles (PLG), and neither is exempt from the London congestion charge.
What about quadricycles that look like ATVs?
Since the end of the 1990's a number of manufacturers have introduced quadricycles that look very similar to ATV's.  These vehicles are essentially ATV's converted to meet the requirements of the quadricycle categories.  However, these vehicles, like all other quadricycles, have been manufactured to be used on public roads.
It should be noted that when both types of Quadricycles are registered they must retain all the relevant modifications - for example their limited power - and any change to specifications means that they are no longer legal for use and could be void for insurance purposes.   
For further details on the use of quadricycles we suggest that the customer is directed toward the Driving Standards Authority or local Vehicle Licensing Office.
Can an ATV be converted to a quadricycle?
In brief - No. By its very definition an ATV is designed for off road use and as such is not subject to ECWVTA type approval.  The homologation of a quadricycle is something that is done at manufacturer or importer level and is an expensive, technical process.
However, in the rare cases that an ATV needs to be used on public roads there are two ways in which these types of vehicles can be road registered:
Firstly under the category of an Agricultural machine as a:
Light agricultural vehicle, which is designed and constructed primarily for use other than on roads, and used solely for purposes relating to agriculture, horticulture, or forestry, and can only seat the driver and does not exceed the revenue weight of 1000kg.
And then under the category of Exempt vehicles as:
Limited Use, which applies to a vehicle, used solely in connection with agriculture, horticulture, forestry, and its road travel does not exceed 1.5km each trip between different areas of land occupied by the same person.
In both cases there is a need to convert the machine to meet applicable Construction & Use and Road Vehicles Lighting requirements. In addition, exemption from MOT testing requirements is possible subject to certain criteria being fulfilled.
As you will see, both categories are dependent upon the machine being used on public roads in connection with agricultural, horticulture or forestry. General leisure use is not possible under these categories and we recommend that you make customers clear in this regard.
What about sports ATVs registered for road use?
We are aware of reports of sports ATVs being used on public roads for general leisure use.  Please be mindful that unless these vehicles have been specifically homologated as quadricycles then they should not be registered for the road. As an industry we are aware that on some occasions sports ATV's are finding their way on to public roads either via confusion at local licensing offices or Single Vehicle Approval (SVA) testing stations.
Training & Safety
In all instances the UK ATV industry recommends that correct personal protective equipment is worn at all times and that safety training is undertaken wherever possible.
Further details available from:
Duncan Russell, Secretary to the ATV/Quad Group
Tel: 01733 362925