Can You Have a Passenger on an ATV?

Exploring the world in an ATV is one of the best experiences you can have with four wheels and no roof. Sharing this with your friends and families is something that you quickly want to do, and getting someone to ride with you can be a tricky thing.

Yes, most ATVs are equipped to carry at least one extra passenger. However, different ATV’s have different limitations that dictate how to carry a passenger safely.

The difference between each ATV makes the equipment required vastly different and something that should be remembered when you plan such an undertaking.

Remember these differences on each of the ATVs you may consider buying.

Utility quad bike


Utility quad bikes are made for rough and heavy use around a farm. This means they are significantly larger and heavier. With large seats that are comfortable to sit in for hours, usually with added railings on the back to help transport things when needed.

For seating, this means that you will be able to have someone sit behind you easily, or if you are only moving a short distance, they can sit on the railings at the rear or front of the quad. However, this is not recommended as it can be dangerous.


Because they are used for farming, and other hard-working functions, utility quad bikes have strong engines and gearboxes that can easily support several people on the quad. This means that you will not suffer performance issues when you use your quad with several people on it. However, it is still recommended by the manufacturer of quads never to have more than two people on the bike.


All quad bikes require you to wear a helmet and goggles, this is to ensure that even in the worst-case scenario, you are protected, and the most important part of your body is safe. As slow as some utility quads are, you and your passengers must still wear this equipment, ensuring that you will be safe no matter what.

It’s important to remember that utility quads are larger and heavier than other ATVs, this means that you cannot do tricks or other obstacles like you would with a normal ATV. When you have a passenger on your utility quad, the only safe thing to do is transport them from one point to another, moving carefully as losing control of these quad bikes can happen easily when you are overcoming obstacles.

Sports quad bikes


Sports quad bikes have smaller bodies, made for speed, and almost nothing else they move quickly across the sand with a center of gravity that allows a lot of obstacles to be overcome. The seat on these quad bikes is made to comfortably absorb impacts and other extreme things that you will be doing with these quads.

Owing to the function of these quad bikes, you will find that you can only ever have one passenger on the quad. Smaller seats and higher speeds mean that you will not be able to safely take on extra passengers in the same way that you could with a utility quad bike. Sports quad bikes have softer and lighter frames, making them perfect for moving at high speed but unable to support unexpected weight on the actual bodywork.

You can see in the sports like shapes that these quad bikes have, they are meant for at the most two people using them, and not people sitting on the sides. Enthusiasts have been known to add different body shapes and other extras to their sports quad bikes that allow them to do a bit more.


The engines used in sports quad bikes can be some of the fastest out there, they may not have the same amount of power as their larger cousins, but they can make you go extremely fast over rough terrain. With engines easily going up to 1000cc, they won’t notice if you have a passenger on the quad bike.

If your engine is smaller you may want to reconsider if you are going to have a passenger, small sports quad bikes may be unable to properly move with too much weight on them. These engines are fine tuned to move as fast as possible, either over sand, mud or though water. However, this makes them unable to easily pull or push as much weight as other larger quad bikes.


Unlike utility quad bikes, where only a helmet and goggle should be enough to keep you safe while working with them sports quad bikes require several more pieces of equipment for both drivers and passengers.

  • Gloves: These can be anything from small bikers’ gloves to specially armored gloves made for quad bikes and dirt bikes; these ensure that your hands will be safe no matter what. They are designed to survive impacts, scrapes against trees and the ground, and even a bit of the crushing damage that can occur when a quad bike falls over.
  • Pants: Armoured pants have thicker materials, and most importantly, they have plating on the knees. This means that when falling over or off a quad bike, your legs will be perfectly safe. If you aren’t driving on surfaces like tarred roads, you and your passenger will be safe.
  • Vests: These are long sleeves vests that have armor on the chest, shoulders, and elbows, all meant to protect you and your passenger from bodily harm.
  • Boots: Because the controls of quad bikes are quite simple, these are usually quite large and will be heavy. This is to protect the part of your body that may be most likely to get hurt should the quad bike fall on you. They’re quite handy when you must get out to help a friend that got stuck in the mud too.
  • Helmet and Goggles: It is recommended that you always wear a helmet and goggles when you are using any type of ATV. However, it is always good to remember that a helmet should always be bought brand new, once a helmet has been used in an accident, it will not work a second time.



Side-by-side is a broad term used to describe any ATV that has two seat side by side, which is where the name comes from. These can be ATVs that look almost like golf cars or, more commonly, dune buggies. These are almost shaped like miniature cars that are built to go anywhere they can reasonably fit through.

Because they are at the very least two-seater vehicles, they can easily fit a driver and passenger, with the added benefit of having space in the back to pack several bags and other equipment needed when playing in mud and sand.


These are usually fitted with 1.6-liter engines that easily support multiple people and their equipment. These engines like sport quad bikes are not made to be as strong as possible, but as fast as possible, usually being overhauled in the process of making the side-by-side.

You can purchase some ATVs from manufacturers with different engines and strengths. However, these are all vastly different and require a lot of explanation.


Because side-by-sides are like more rugged smaller cars, the only required safety equipment for the driver and passenger are helmets and goggles. This is to prevent head trauma and to stop sand and other things from getting in their eyes while driving.


ATVs can easily support passengers, but the type of ATV and the strength of its engine will be a deciding factor in what you can do while carrying the passenger. If you want to go out and experience the fun a quad provides with someone else, then you should know it’s entirely possible.

Go have fun while sharing the experience with those you care about!

Louis Pretorius

As an amateur off-road enthusiast, I have always been drawn to outdoor adventure. I have decided to share all of my learning experiences with you as I dig a little deeper into my new-found passion and wonderful world of off-roading. My mission is to create the Ultimate Off-roading space on the internet in the process. Stay safe and happy Off-Roading!

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