Quad bike rule change defeated

Controversial proposals to redesign quad bikes which would have made them useless on farms have been overturned by MEPs.

The European Commission had set out plans to limit the speed of ATVs to 40km/h in an effort to make them safer on the road.

It also wanted to make them heavier and reduce ground clearance in order to make them more stable.

But farming groups warned the changes would have little improvement on ATV safety and would make them unable to perform off-road, rendering them useless on farms.

Following a vote in Strasbourg this week, where MEPs voted to overturn the proposals, the NFU said the regulations would have reduced the ability of ATVs to perform everyday functions on farms.

“It isn’t appropriate for these vehicles to be built to the same standards as vehicles used on the road,” Ben Ellis, NFU regulatory affairs adviser, said.

“For example, one of the commission’s safety suggestions was for a reduction in ground clearance to increase stability on the road, but this would have been dangerous and unworkable off the road.”

Mr Ellis said other design requirements on things like noise and emissions would have increased the cost of ATVs by up to 60%, making them too expensive for farmers to buy and run.

The NFU was continuing work with European officials on the definition of the agricultural vehicle category to ensure ATVs were not given impractical limits on ground clearance, noise and power, he added.

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