DFT ISSUE STATEMENT ON SAFETY REGULATIONS OF QUADRICYCLES
May 11 2007.

The Department for Transport published a document on Tuesday (May 8th) headed 'Safety regulation of quadricycles'.

Whilst the tests mentioned refer specifically to micro-car type vehicles that fall under current quadricycle laws, there will be concern within the quad trade and industry that any legislation might not differentiate between the 'car' and 'motorcycle' type quadricycle variants, even though at the end of the document it is stated: "For quadricycles, as opposed to passenger cars, there are no requirements for occupant protection tests." 

 
The full statement:

Safety regulation of quadricycles

The Government is seeking a review of the European regulations for quadricycles after initial tests of their safety performance, following their growth in popularity as a more environmentally friendly alternative to cars.

Current safety standards, set at European level, were established at a time when it was never envisaged that this type of product would be used as a mainstream road vehicle.

The Department for Transport began simulated impact tests once this growth in popularity had been determined. The vehicle tested passed all the European requirements applicable to quadricyles, but when it was subjected to the same impact test expected of normal cars serious safety concerns were highlighted.

Roads Minister Dr Stephen Ladyman said:

"The safety regulations that govern this type of vehicle were designed at a time when it was thought they would cover four-wheeled motorcycles and some small, specialised commercial vehicles. Not city run-abouts that resemble small cars.

"But, given increasing environmental concerns, new vehicles that qualify as quadricycles have come to the market and are becoming more popular for urban use. Therefore it is right that we reconsider the regulations for this type of vehicle and whether safety regulations should be made more stringent.

"Now we have the initial findings of our tests we will be taking this up with the European Commission and manufacturers, and will publish more information when the full programme of tests is complete".

The Department for Transport will carry out further tests on another make of quadricycle to help its discussions with the European Commission, and is now in urgent contact with the relevant manufacturers. Once the full analysis is complete further information will be made available.

Notes:

1. A "quadricycle" is a vehicle with four wheels whose unladen mass is not more than 400kg (excluding batteries if it is an electric vehicle) and whose maximum continuous rated power does not exceed 15 kW.

2. The occupant protection is assessed by a frontal impact test where the vehicle is propelled into a deformable barrier (to simulate striking another vehicle) at a velocity of 56 kmh (~35 mph). The impact takes place at a 40% overlap with the barrier and is concentrated on the driver's side of the vehicle. The Department is scheduled to test two quadricycles. The first test, which involved a REVA G-Wiz electric vehicle, has taken place.

3. Construction standards for quadricycles are harmonised at European level, the main instrument being European Parliament and Council Directive 2002/24/EC - the Framework Directive. This Directive requires compliance with a number of individual Directives that set out requirements for particular vehicle systems; brakes, lighting, wheels, etc.

These harmonised requirements are recognised by all 27 Member States of the European Community and once the vehicle is approved to the standards of the Directive by any member state the manufacturer has access to all 27 markets.

For quadricycles, as opposed to passenger cars, there are no requirements for occupant protection tests.

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