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Old 01-20-2011, 05:53 AM   #1
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ATV / quads - why are they not legal?

ATVs and Quads - what are your typical MPG? Why can't I drive one on the roads?

More and more emphasis goes to EV and hybrids. To me it seems a bit of wasted effort and resources. Why complicate things? The more complicated the device, the more likely it is to fail, the more difficult it is to diagnose, repair, and maintain, and the heavier the vehicle gets. Even on a bicycle it is very evident when riding a light bike vs a heavy bike which one takes more effort/energy.

My question is why are ATVs (or quads) illegal in most states in USA? I'm glad motorcycles are still legal. Unfortunately I can't ride my motorcycle year round in the northern climate of Chicago (snow & ice make it almost impossible - I guess a sidecar would help). Motorcycles get great MPG and so do ATVs. Why can't I drive an ATV to work in the winter? It is safer than my motorcycle!

Some of the arguments against ATVs that I heard are: ATVs with fixed rear axles are dangerous on the roads, hooligans will outrun cops and tear up the lawns, they are unsafe in high speed corners, and the like... I don't get these arguments. To me, the benefits far outweigh any concerns; besides just because it is legal, doesn't mean you have to drive one.
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Old 01-21-2011, 12:33 AM   #2
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They are simply designed for off-road use. That is the main kicker. Now, if they are fitted with road legal tires, windshield and wiper, full working lights, safety belt (or harness) and the like then yeah, sure. It could be legalized for road use.

That is what you have to consider.
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:10 AM   #3
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Not in Illinois. No matter what you do, it can't be made legal
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Old 01-24-2011, 12:56 PM   #4
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True, each state may vary, forgot about that.
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Old 01-25-2011, 11:37 PM   #5
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Also consider that many are 2 strokes and some states will not license a 2 stroke for on road use no matter what other factors are involved, California for one.

I can't even get a pre 2 stroke ban Vespa (that was designed for on road driving) licensed if it has been unlicensed since the ban went into effect if I understand the Vehicle Code correctly. I'd sure love to have one of my old Vespas for an around town ride but the ones that are still licensed are ridiculously expensive due to their inherint value for having been continuously registered.
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Old 02-09-2011, 04:23 PM   #6
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2stroke ATV?! Not in the last decade or so my friend. Where I live atvs may be registered and licensed for use on public roads that are not 'highway' roads.

My Honda Foreman 400 has a plate on it but I don't take it out on the roads too often because 1. It doesn't get all that great of mpg. 2. It's geared to MAX out at around 45mph or so. It has good acceleration but feels like it's gonna blow up when you're going over 40. 3. The tires wear out FAST.

Off road I can piss around all day on a tank of fuel but I may only travel 50 miles or so. On the highway those same 50 miles go by really quick and use about the same amount of fuel.
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Old 02-25-2011, 09:19 PM   #7
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In the UK quads are allowed on the roads provided they have the basic essentials:

registration plate

night lights

indicators

rider wears helmet

Farmers use them a lot over here and on occasion need road access to get from field to field

A few people use them for commuting in my area (Devon in the South West)
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Old 02-27-2011, 09:20 AM   #8
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As TheDivvy has said, although helmets are not a legal requirement on Quads in the UK, just recommended.

I plan on having one myself eventually for road use, the fun, speed and MPG
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Old 03-01-2011, 08:09 PM   #9
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I was the Technical Manager for Polaris in Portugal. Forget about great MPG on an ATV :-)
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Old 03-15-2011, 11:38 AM   #10
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I remember reading discussions on this before, I believe the kicker is that ATVs have 4-wheels. Therefore they fall into the "car" category and has a whole different set of DOT rules compared to what motorcycles have to have. For instance, seatbelt, windshield, wiper, etc. All that probably needs to be done is new laws written to define ATVs as a motorcycle vs a car.
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