I had a lady come up to me and ask why don’t ATVs have seatbelts? She was serious, her teenager wanted an ATV, and she thought a seatbelt would be a good thing. A seatbelt on an ATV is not a good thing, UTVs and side by sides have them, but with an ATV, it would be terrible.
To better understand why ATVs don’t have seatbelts, I’ve listed the reasons below and go into more details in this post.
- A seatbelt could trap riders.
- Limited mobility.
- Can’t ditch easily.
- No good strap points.
- More chances of something going wrong.
Let’s go over each point in the next sections to better understand why a seatbelt for an ATV is not a thing.
1. A Seatbelt Could Trap Riders
A seatbelt makes sense in a car or a vehicle that is enclosed, such as a UTV.
An 4-wheeler is more like a motorcycle, which also don’t have seatbelts. Since you don’t have a protective cage around you, if they roll over on you, then you run the risk of getting trapped if you’re strapped in.
Without the seat belt, when the machine rolls over, you can push it off you or jump away.
2. Limited Mobility
With a quad and even motorcycles, you tend to move around more and shift your weight where it’s needed.
If you had a seat belt, you won’t be able to move and can end up causing more problems.
Being able to shift your body weight to either side is important for tricky rock climbing, hill climbing and more that you do. Even bogging in the mud would be very dangerous if it were required to use one.
3. Can’t Ditch Easily
At lower speeds, you may find that you need to ditch or jump off the quad to protect yourself in a crash.
I’ve had buddies let the machine go off the side of a mountain to protect themselves. If they were forced to use them, they probably wouldn’t be alive today.
ATVs tend to have a higher center of gravity than other off-road machines, so being able to ditch at the last minute can be helpful or life-saving.
4. No Good Strap Points
In a car or UTV, you’re being cradled in a seat, so a strap over your chest and lower torso makes sense.
But when it comes to a 4-wheelers, where do you put the seat belt? You have your feet to each side, nothing to support your back, and you need to be able to move freely.
You simply don’t have good strap down points for a belt when it comes to ATVs.
5. More Chances For Something To Go Wrong
Since you don’t have any good strap down points for a seat belt on an ATV, you end up having more chances for things to go wrong.
For example, your leg getting caught on a rock because the ATV rolled over, and you can’t break free because the belt is keeping you from doing so.
If you need an off-road vehicle that has seat belts, then you need to look into getting a UTV or side by side.
What Has Seatbelts?
It’s more common to find seatbelts on UTVs or side by sides than it is for ATVs.
A UTV more resembles a truck than an ATV, while an ATV resembles more of a motorcycle but with 4 wheels.
A UTV is more likely to have a roll cage, too, to offer even greater protection than an ATV. A UTV is not perfect, you’ll find that most trucks and modern cars offer better crash protection, but they also can’t go as many places or do as much as many modern UTVs.
The Differences Between ATV & UTV
An ATV and UTV may seem similar, but they’re not quite the same.
An ATV will not have a roll cage around it and it more like a motorcycle with a saddle seat as shown in the image below.
A side by side or UTV will have a roll cage around it, have seats that are similar to the seats in your car, and will also have seatbelts most of the time as shown in the image below.
The side by side shown above is a 4 seater option and all 4 seats have seatbelts. You’ll find side by sides tend to be able to carry more people, where a quad are often limited to 2 people at the most.
Single Seater UTVs
There are a few UTVs that are the size of an quad, but still have a roll cage and come with a seatbelt.
Some may call them ATVs, as they’re the same size, but it’s still a UTV with a seatbelt.
Roll Cages On ATVs
ATVs do not come with roll cages, but UTVs and side by sides will often have roll cages.
A roll cage will protect you in the event of a roll over, and with ATVs weight over 600 pounds and getting bigger every year, the thought of roll cages being added is increasing.
There are current talks across the world to add some kind of roll cage or protections for ATV riders. What needs to happen is movements from the manufacturers, especially since they keep making them bigger. It didn’t use to be such a big issue, as ATVs would weigh a little more than most riders, but now they can weigh triple that.