Key points

  • Riders must be trained/experienced enough to do the job.
  • Choose the right vehicle for the job.
  • Always wear a helmet.
  • Don’t let kids ride adult quad bikes.
  • Never carry passengers.
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The purpose of this information sheet is to help reduce the risk of injuries and fatalities by providing practical guidance on how to manage various four – wheeled motorbike (quad bikes) risks. There are estimated to be over 80,000 quad bikes in use on and around farms throughout New Zealand. They might not look it, but quad bikes are powerful and complex pieces of machinery. The rider needs to shift and use their body weight to control the bike. This is called ‘active riding’.

Quad bike riding skills need to be learned through riding experience and training. Riders who are unfamiliar with the particular quad bike or farm terrain, and/or unskilled in the proper active riding techniques are at increased risk of injury.

The most common types of accident involve people falling off quads, rolling them, or hitting objects. WorkSafe New Zealand accepts the recommendations in this information sheet as current industry good practice. They will help you comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA).

Accepted Good Practice

Only let people with the right training and experience ride a quad bike. Bike riders must have appropriate riding skills. To check a rider’s skills, talk about safe farm bike riding with them and get them to show their skills under direct supervision. Riders must know about the best routes to take, no-go zones and what jobs can be done by bike compared to other vehicles.

The Law

Quad bikes are vehicles designed for off-road use. They are generally not suited for travelling on public roads, mostly because they are light and offer little protection from other vehicles should you have a collision.

To be able to ride a quad bike on public roads, you must:

  • register and license the quad bike
  • hold a current New Zealand driver licence
  • wear an approved safety helmet
  • maintain a current warrant of fitness.

See the NZTA website ( for further information and exemptions for quad bikes used exclusively on farm.

Under HSWA persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) must ensure the safety of workers while at work so far as is reasonably practicable. Workers also have a duty to take reasonable care of their own health and safety. To manage the risks involved in riding quad bikes at work, helmets should be worn on or off-road to ensure the safety of the rider.

Farm quad bike pre-operation checklist

Note: refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for your particular quad bike for the correct specifications (for example, tyre pressure, and the correct engine temperature for checking the oil).

Pre operation checklist

Adapted from A handbook for workplaces: Quad bikes on farms 2009, from WorkSafe Victoria.