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ATV/Quad Safety

Using an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) can very easily and suddenly cause a very serious or fatal injury. ATV crashes can kill on impact. When an ATV turns over it can crush the chest area with its weight or cause an impact injury. Francis Bligh outlines the steps you can take to stay safe.

Over the past decade (2013 – 2022) there have been 10 farm fatalities involving quads, of which two were under 18 and six were over 65 years of age (HSA). Many more have been left with life changing injuries. Watch a video focusing on ATV/Quad bike safety.

Consider alternatives

Before purchasing or replacing an ATV check the market to identify alternative options. ATV’S can be fitted with a roll over bar but it is important to assess other options. There is an increasing trend towards people considering a slightly larger Utility Vehicle (UTV) with a cab or roll over protection that will carry two people.

Training and experience

Engaging in training and gaining experience are very important tools to help you understand how to operate your ATV safely. Knowing and understanding how to manage your ATV in different situations will help you develop the skills to operate it safely.

ATV/QUAD Bike Safety Training Providers

Persons seeking out training must ensure that the training provided is to the QQI Standard or equivalent.
To find out more and check a listing of training providers click here

Legal requirements

Under Regulation: S.I. No. 619 of 2021 all operators using an ATV/quad for work must have undergone an ATV training course provided by a registered provider to a QQI standard or equivalent by 23rd of November 2023. The law also places a requirement on the operator to carry out a risk assessment of ATV operation and wear personal protective equipment (including a helmet). Read more about ATV regulations here.

Funding for ATV helmets

Funding is currently available under the new national farm safety measure to cover 60% of the eligible cost of up to two quad bike helmets. The grant aid from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is subject to a maximum eligible cost of €150 per quad bike (ATV) helmet. Only ATV/Quad helmets that meet the scheme specifications are eligible. Check carefully before purchase. Applications can be made until September 29th using an agfood.ie online account.

Read abbout how to apply for funding here


Head protection is very important. Everyone using an ATV should wear a helmet at all times. Check ATV manufacturer’s handbook for information on Helmets.

ATV maintenance

Regular maintenance of an ATV will keep it in a safe condition. Brakes and drive lines must be regularly maintained. Tyres that are poorly inflated can lead to instability and if they are overinflated braking force and ability to corner safely can be reduced. The manufacturer’s handbook will state recommended tyre pressure. 


Many ATV’s can travel at speeds in excess of 30km/hr. On farms there can be an urge to drive faster to save time but inappropriate speed will increase the likelihood of losing control and sustaining serious injury.

Operator mobility

Farmers may purchase ATV’S to increase their mobility on their farms. To operate an ATV safely, one must be capable of moving bodyweight around the ATV to maintain stability.

Knowledge of the Terrain

Travelling across a bank, rut or bump should only be attempted when speed is appropriate and time is taken to determine if it can be done safely. Coming in contact with electric fences, hidden field posts, rocks or pieces of machinery can have devastating consequences. It is important to stay on familiar routes.


Travelling downhill requires skill and agility. The rider must move to the back of the bike to increase stability. The operator must ensure that any load being carried is appropriate. Excessive weight or slippery ground will have an impact on stability and control.

Excessive loads

An ATV towing a trailer must be managed very carefully. Many ATV trailers do not have independent braking which means all the braking force is transferred to the ATV. The force may become excessive if hard braking takes place and this may lead to loss of control.


Carrying passengers on ATV’s is not advised. When carrying a passenger or an unbalanced load the centre of gravity of the ATV changes. This can destabilise the machine and lead to loss of control. Many serious injuries have occurred when passengers have fallen off ATV’S.

For more information the following videos are very informative:

Safe Quad Skills and Operation

Quad Safe Riding Techniques