The law relating to the supply and use of mini-motos, powered mini scooters and quadricycles.
Use on the road
Only vehicles which have European Whole Vehicle Type Approval and which comply with vehicle EMC (electro-magnetic compatibility) requirements may be used on the road. They would then also need to be taxed and insured, have a valid MOT certificate and the user would need to wear appropriate protective equipment such as a crash helmet. Most of these products are not capable of meeting these requirements and they cannot therefore be used on the road. Further information on where they can be used is given later.
General product safety
As with all goods, these types of vehicles must be safe. It is the responsibility of everyone in the supply chain from manufacturer, through importers and wholesalers, to the retailers to ensure that the goods they supply are safe. When deciding if goods are safe, you need to take into account a range of factors, including:
- Product design.
- Build quality.
- Strength of the product.
- Age and capabilities of the user.
- Instructions for use and maintenance.
- Warnings including the need for the user to wear appropriate protective equipment, have appropriate training and where appropriate to be used only under adult supervision.
- The hazards associated with the product.
- Compliance with appropriate standards (see below).
- Reasonably foreseeable use, including likely misuse.
Which standards apply to these products?
BS7407:1991 Specification for vehicles directly propelled by energy derived from a fuel, capable of carrying children. EN71 Toys Although these products are not toys, they are highly likely to be used by children. Therefore some provisions of this standard may be appropriate. MOT standards It may also be appropriate to look at some of the standards in the MOT.
All-Terrain Motor Vehicles (Safety) Regulations 1989
These regulations prohibit the supply of three wheel all terrain motor vehicles (ATVs) and four wheel ATVs designed for use by children under 12. Those ATVs for children aged between 12 and 14 must have a speed limiter fitted and fully functioning when it is supplied and have a warning label stating that it is not suitable for children under 12. The regulations also prohibit the supply of any regulated vehicle which has four wheels and is designed or intended for use by children under twelve or by persons aged twelve or over but under sixteen unless the requirements set out in regulations four and five respectively are met. These requirements are that four-wheeled regulated vehicles must have a maximum speed capability and be fitted with a regulator which is in operation when the vehicle is supplied and which ensures that the vehicle travels at a speed less than the maximum of which it is capable. Four-wheeled regulated vehicles designed or intended for use by persons in the older age group must in addition have a warning label that the vehicle is not suitable for a child under 12 years.
Are there any exemptions?
- Toy vehicles which are usually intended for young children and which comply with the requirements of the Toy Safety Regulations and EN 71. They are battery powered and have a maximum speed of 8 km per hour.
- Electrically assisted bicycles which comply with the requirements of the 'Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle Regulations 1983'. There has been a case in the courts which held that the pedals must be capable of propelling the cycle.
- Vehicles which meet all the requirements of the road traffic legislation.
Where can these vehicles be used?
As the vast majority of these vehicles cannot meet the requirements for use on the highway, they can only be used on private land with the owner's permission. As well as the roads and pavements, the highway includes private land to which the public normally have access e.g. car parks and playing fields.
In some areas there are sites designed for members of the public to take such vehicles for use. However, they cannot be used on the roads to get there. If the police find people using these products in places where they shouldn't or in an inappropriate manner, they can and do seize them from the person using them and other penalties may apply.
What does this mean for businesses?
When you are selling such vehicles, you cannot sell them as suitable for use on the road. If you do, then you may commit an offence under the Trade Descriptions Act 1968. You must ensure that they are safe or you may commit an offence. Although it may be helpful to do, it is not sufficient to just put a sticker on the vehicle stating 'not for road use'. You should take additional steps to make sure the buyer understands where and how they can be used. Whilst this list is not exhaustive, these steps might include:
- Ask the buyer about who is going to use the product and what age they are.
- Ask about where they are going to use it.
- Give them a leaflet explaining about where and how they can be used.
For more information, please contact Leicestershire County Council Trading Standards.