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Quad News Archive


Your quad is NOT roadworthy

Your quad is NOT roadworthy

OFF-ROAD ONLY: Be warned - adding indicators and a hooter to this quad will not make it roadworthy.

Quad sales in South Africa have grown over the past few years to the point where they currently make up nearly 50 percent of the motorcycle market.

There is now a tendency for the public to ride these little four-wheelers on public roads, albeit usually only quiet suburbia or residential estates.

I've yet to see one on a freeway in rush hour – but I'm sure it's coming.

The National Road Traffic Act requires every vehicle to be registered on the Natis system, even if used exclusively for off-road. Naturally, if a vehicle is required to be registered, a licence must be paid (this is, after all, South Africa), once again irrespective of whether the vehicle is to be used on or off the road.

Thus licence discs are being automatically issued to new quad owners since the Natis national registration system does not recognise the concept of registering a vehicle for off-road use only.

After that it's relatively easy to fit lights, speedo, indicators and mirrors in compliance with the Road Traffic Act, get a roadworthy certificate and voila! You have a street-legal quad, right?


When the South Afrcan Bureau of Standards, which represents the department of transport in approving new vehicle models for registration on the Natis system, discovered that quads were being used on the road they approached the Association of Motorcycle Importers and Distributors.

As a result of this meeting the regulations for such vehicles – which are actually in place but not enforced – will in future be more strictly applied.

Quads are designed and built for off-road use only; they don't have the correct equipment to render them roadworthy. Not only that, quad suspension is seldom set up for use on tar surfaces.

Although most will quite happily run at 60 or even 80km/h, their handlebar steering is extremely direct and at that speed on tar they become difficult – and dangerous - to control.

SABS 047, which describes the specifications for roadworthy vehicles, also says that "no vehicle shall be issued with a certificate of roadworthiness unless the driving axle is fitted with a differential".

Since most quads have a solid, one-piece rear axle, it shouldn't be possible to get them through roadworthy anyway, new or second-hand.

Only a very few 4x4 quads have a differentials on the rear axles and these are even less suitable for road use than the normal rear-wheel drive machines.

So be careful, warns Amid's Arnold Olivier, when buying a quad, new or used, under the pretext that it can be certified roadworthy.

Amid is currently negotiating with the department of transport to create a different licence class for off-road vehicles, even the bureaucrats recognise the unfairness of the present system.

That takes time, however, so for now the licencing situation will stay the same.

Olivier also warns that a quad is regarded as a motorcycle in terms of the National Road Traffic Act. So to ride one on the road (roadworthy considerations notwithstanding) you need to have the appropriate motorcycle rider's licence.

You'll need to be 16 years old and hold a class A1 rider's licence for quads of less than 125cc, or 18 with a class A licence for anything bigger.

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