The ‘cars’ that can be legally driven by 16-year-olds

12.00 | 17 April 2013 | | 30 comments

Please note – the information in this article is from 2013.

16-year-olds can now legally drive ‘car-like quadricycles’ on UK roads under pan-European legislation that came into force in January 2013 (MSN Cars).

The new rules were introduced following a reclassification of the moped licence category to include the new vehicle types. Any 16-year-old that passes the theory and practical Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) tests will now be eligible to both ride a moped and drive a ‘light quadricycle’.

The vehicles must not weigh more than 350kg and have a maximum top speed of 28mph.

This legislation brings the UK into line with the rest of Europe, where around 300,000 quadricycle-type cars have been sold.

Manufacturers that produce vehicles covered by the legislation include Aixam and Renault. The vehicles currently cost around £10,000 and insurance costs for a 16-year-old are likely to be in excess of £2,000.

16-year-old Jamie Coley, who is driving an Aixam, said: “I don’t agree with people who say that 16 year olds shouldn’t be driving.

“I’ve seen people of any age that should not be on the road, and a 17-year-old can be driving at 70 or 80mph whereas this is much slower and therefore safer.”

Justin Bond, UK manager for Aixam, said: “People need to see it as an alternative to a moped, rather than comparing it to a car, and our experience in Europe shows that they are a popular first step towards driving a car, or a dry alternative to motorcycles in winter.”

Newbury-based Pro-Bike is selling the Aixam. Kevin Williams, Pro-Bike manager, said: “It’s a fact that not all parents want their children on two wheels, and they may feel happier with them on four wheels in a weather-proof environment and able to take a passenger.”

Click here to read the full MSN report.


Comment on this story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Report a reader comment

Order by Latest first | Oldest first | Highest rated | Lowest rated

    I have an axiam in France and want to bring to move to the uk. Can i change the number plates and drive legally?

    Susan Thomas, Limoux
    Agree (14) | Disagree (0)

    Phil from Kent – a bit harsh, does it really matter whether you say Reliant Robin or Robin Reliant? Everyone knows that Reliant’s most popular three wheeler was the Robin!

    Matt cambridge
    Agree (8) | Disagree (2)

    I have recenlty bought an AXIAM for our 16 year old, diesel 400 CC, and I’m finding it extremely hard to get insurance. Have been quoted 6K which I can’t believe is true.

    yvonne – solihull
    Agree (21) | Disagree (2)

    Can you have passengers in this car at 16?

    Agree (22) | Disagree (5)

    “any 16 year old that passes theory and practical compulsory basic training (cbt)”. I’m sorry the article is muddled up, you first have to pass cbt, then theory and after that the practical am motorcycle test module 1 then module 2. Every other comment is complaining about 16 year olds driving the car without supervision is based on the fact they published the article muddled up. There is thorough training so no need to worry.

    Dale, Newmarket
    Agree (8) | Disagree (13)

    Your article doesn’t seem to confirm if the individual is required to be supervised! As they haven’t completed the off road and on road tests they are therefore operating under provisional entitlement and must be supervised. Only once they taken the test on a two wheeled vehicle and gain full AM entitlement are they possibly allowed to drive a vehicle such as this and even then I would question the legalities of it!

    Mr T
    Agree (1) | Disagree (12)

    I’m a 16 year old lad and I’m looking into buying one of these, does anyone know where I would be able to get insured on one? Thanks

    Agree (37) | Disagree (3)

    First of all, you need more than just the CBT to legally drive these. You need an AM license which involves the CBT, the theory and the practical test (altogether around £500-£600 to obtain).

    Secondly, it does confuse me when people that have had their car licenses for years claim young drivers are unsafe. Yes you get the odd idiot that wants to show off, but the vast majority are safer than the people, slightly older who may of got their license back when all you had to do was a turn in the road and drive around for a bit. Now, the tests to get you on the road are a lot more strict and complicated, thus harder to actually pass. This includes the tests for the AM license you need to drive one of these cars. If I remember rightly, you did not need to do a theory test years ago? My mother did not anyway, and she obtained her driving license back in 1983 (roughly). She can drive, but has not much idea of the highway code other than common knowledge, however with how hard you have to study for the theory and practical tests these days, the young drivers of today are actually safer than other drivers. I still have not passed my car test due to silly things like once not checking a mirror, or waiting too long at a roundabout because I felt unsafe until a big enough gap came along and trusted my own judgement, however other drivers are on the road involved in crashes, drink driving etc, and they are 30-40 years of age plus. I can drive perfectly fine, and I am 20. it is people who have had their license a long time and didn’t have to work particularly hard to get it, and they take advantage of other road users, then blame younger people for the danger on the roads.

    Rebecca Lincolnshire
    Agree (12) | Disagree (22)

    I think everybody overlooks the main issue with young drivers – they all think they are safe inside their “little box” and exhibit next to no awareness of the surrounding environment. If I had my way, no one under 21 would be allowed a car until they had experienced full awareness of their driving environment through 2 (or 3) wheeled transport. Yo can almost guarantee that the best drivers are (or were originally) motorcyclists, they are permanently examining their surrounding environment for a full 360 degrees.

    Alan Dominey, Portsmouth UK
    Agree (6) | Disagree (35)

    I am interested in buying one of these to nip about in but I’m in my 40’s, hold a provisional but never done the test. I’m a sensible person with kids and good common sense but can’t find anything on older people driving one…does the same rules apply? Anyone know?

    Ellie , Devon
    Agree (21) | Disagree (4)

    I just yesterday drove behind the little car on the London streets (the blue one) I never seen before (got closer to see the logo). So nice one! It has the same dynamics like any other surrounding traffic participants. Followed deliberately and lined up on traffic lights to check the difference at green light. I like this absolute marvel! My daughter has to spend every day 2 and half hours on the buses one way to college. To get back home at the evening takes longer. After such each-day travel she has no power for the homework. For the 16-year old Aixam Coupe is a solution. Wondering about 28 mph? Do not make my sleepers laughing – you never drive faster in the city, hence everything with this little car is better than fine!

    Stan, London
    Agree (9) | Disagree (0)

    I would hate to drive behind a car that can only travel 28 MPH. You can’t overtake it. How are people going to be able to drive these things on main roads?

    Chucky from Kent
    Agree (8) | Disagree (8)

    i agree with Billie Mahon. I think that letting 16 year olds drive is a great idea and the cars are fab, but don’t you people think it’s too much money for a 16 year old to pay? Yes, your parents are there to support you, but you’re 16, not a little kid. My mum won’t say, “here take this money”. No, we are 16 years old, we need to save up but £10,000 is not a little and also insurance costs for a 16-year-old are likely to be in excess of £2,000.

    SIMON ( london)
    Agree (11) | Disagree (1)

    With regard to the safety of the drivers of these vehicles, the risks need to be compared not to those of driving a full sized car, but to those inherent in riding a moped. Yes a L.Q. will be less safe than an NCAP5 car, but it will still be a lot safer than a moped, which exhibits zero occupant protection and importantly, a very small ‘threat profile’ to other road users, hence their regularly being overtaken dangerously and pulled out on. Anyone who thinks that mopeds are safe from other road users should try riding one for a week!

    A L.Q. will oblige other road users to wait until a slightly less hazardous moment before overtaking than would have been the case had the child been driving a moped, where there is a temptation to overtake at any time, forcing the moped into the gutter.

    Really, discussions about risk are a bit pointless. These or similar vehicles have been in use in France for a very long time; Why not just ask them for the true accident statistics? Having driven with them, I can confirm that they are a nuisance, slowing down the traffic flow, but that would undoubtedly be a beneficial effect for all in terms of road safety, despite other drivers becoming annoyed.

    My last job largely involved the test and development of vehicle occupant protection – stopping the occupant dying in a 15mph collision with the dashboard is surprisingly difficult. If the vehicle can only travel at 30 mph then the chance of the occupant dying or being seriously injured in a single vehicle accident in an enclosed vehicle with only rudimentary safety features is still reduced hugely compared to travelling at more than twice that speed in a vehicle fitted with all of the safety equipment on the market.

    Steve Purdie, East Sussex
    Agree (4) | Disagree (0)

    I think these cars are fab, but how are 16 year olds going to be able to afford it if they have only just left school? I’m 16 soon and I really want one but my mom said I have to save up for it myself.

    billie mahon, birmingham
    Agree (5) | Disagree (0)

    How is 28mph safer? In fact doing 80mph is a lot safer then 28 as you are keeping up with traffic and being able to be seen on blind corners.

    Agree (3) | Disagree (20)

    What are the emissions like for this vehicle? If they are low, and the cost of the vehicle and insurance are low, we could see a trend towards these for young people with a transport need for finding employment. Especially if they are even marginally safer than mopeds. These could actually be useful step forwards in the push for sustainable vehicles. Not much of a help in terms of congestion though.

    Jessica Fox-Taylor, Bath
    Agree (2) | Disagree (0)

    If these are not Euro Ncap tested I would have concerns about the occupants’ safety in a crash. Also because of their speed, are they going to be subject to abuse from other road users which can result in risky manoeuvres such as silly overtaking, etc? If the European safety is based on the psycho mopeds in Rome as someone has commented above, then I think we have a right to be very worried.

    Lucy, Scotland
    Agree (2) | Disagree (3)

    The Reliant Regal (as well as Reliant’s predecessors and successors such as the 7 cwt van, 12 cwt van, Regent, Ant, Bond Bug, Robin and Rialto) could be considered as an oxymoron on wheels but the Reliant 3 wheelers are also safe (let’s quickly correct that “they’re unstable” myth shall we?).

    I do agree with Terry Hudson’s comment which I think is a constructive approach towards road safety. That is what this country needs.

    Phil, Kent
    Agree (3) | Disagree (0)

    How do we get it wrong so consistently? Why is ‘slow’ always deemed as ‘safe’?
    I would hate to drive something as slow as this and would say that these things are dangerous and the opposite of what is required. Failure to match the speed of surrounding traffic presents all sorts of hazards, that such inexperienced drivers cannot cope with. When are we going to teach proper road safety in schools, where we are supposed to be teaching life-skills?

    Terry Hudson, Whitstable, Kent
    Agree (6) | Disagree (5)

    While injury rates may be low because injury rates in general are low, these are a high risk vehicle. In any speed zone > 30 mph the speed differential will be such as to increase crash rates by around 8 times in a 40 km/h zone and much greater in faster zones. In addition these are only 40% of the weight of even the smallest cars, and 25% of the weight of larger sedans. So in a crash with a car they will be subject to huge deformations. And finally the crush distance to the driver from front or rear is small so the cabin is likely to be crushed. Perhaps they are safer than a motorcycle (which generate very high relative rates of trauma compared to cars) but they are much less safe than the smallest cars.

    John Lambert, Victoria Australia
    Agree (5) | Disagree (2)

    Talking about Reliants – surely the Reliant Regal was an oxymoron on wheels? If not stilts? More seriously, does anyone think that Britain, with much the best road safety record in the entire EU, with only one or two other countries anywhere close, needs rules set by the same people who gave us the Euro and vehemently support the Global Warming Scam?

    Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield
    Agree (0) | Disagree (5)

    I wonder if there is any casualty data available relating to this vehicle type? It would certainly be interesting to monitor this as these vehicles start to be used in the UK, but that depends on them being classified separately from other vehicles.

    Tim Philpot
    Agree (2) | Disagree (0)

    I too have read these misleading reports that these vehicles can be driven by 16 years old “without a licence”. This is simply not true although there clearly are some shortcomings.

    The new “carped” is likely to generate some confusion amongst potential buyers until the licensing requirements are publicised with more clarity. To drive a quadricycle, 16-year-olds must have a Category AM driving licence and have passed CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) in a similar way to the one that currently exists for Category P mopeds in the country. If they have already passed a test to obtain a full category AM licence on a two-wheeled moped, it is valid on the light quadricycle. This is in sharp contrast to full sized quadricycles which can’t be driven on UK roads on motorcycle licences unless the holder also holds a full car licence. Existing category P licence holders will need to take an additional module to obtain the category AM licence. From 19 January 2013, holders of full car and motorcycle licences will automatically receive the AM category.

    It also appears that the test taken in a light quadricycle will be valid on two-wheeled mopeds, something which the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) objected to in their response to the DVLA consultation paper in 2010. More detailed information is available on the following website.

    David Clark, North Yorkshire
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    I don’t agree with your comment, Honor.

    A Reliant 3 wheeler (there is no such car as a “Robin Reliant”) cannot be driven on any provisional licence. They require a full motorcycle licence or a full car licence (which includes tricycle entitlement).

    An Aixam (limited speed) quadricycle can be driven by a 16 year old without a licence nor supervision under daft EU law. That is my main concern. Also, light quadricycles such as the Aixam (at present) are exempt from Euro Ncap crash tests.

    Phil, Kent
    Agree (1) | Disagree (4)

    I think these 28 MPH (max) vehicles are a disaster waiting to happen. The thought of 16 year olds driving these dangerous contraptions without a licence and without supervision beggars belief. The EU should think again about allowing 16 year olds to drive these vehicles with no licence nor supervision.

    Phil, Kent
    Agree (2) | Disagree (4)

    I personally don’t have a problem with 16 year olds driving one of these but I do worry about open road safety. Most of us as drivers will have encountered mopeds/scooters that are subject to the same power and speed restrictions as these quadricycles and have had problems passing them safely.

    If drivers come across a vehicle that appears to be about the size of a Fiat 500 doing 28 mph on a national speed limit road I can see real problem occurring. If the 16 year old works or goes to college in the next town and this is their only means of transport they will us it just as they do their mopeds now.

    On the other hand, as I don’t habitually break speed limits, I’d love one to run around the town in. I’d save a fortune on fuel and running costs.

    David Clark, North Yorkshire
    Agree (2) | Disagree (0)

    The difference between 16 or 17 year olds is significant. 12 months in the mental, emotional and physical development of a 30 year old is negligible – in a teenager it is massive.

    There are arguments on both sides (keeping dry, two wheels are most parents nightmare etc) but the overall skills needed and the conceptualisation of manouevring a larger unit amongst other similar and even larger units, drivers of which may not be aware that the vehicle adjacent to them is being driven on a moped licence are as Cheryl said, simply not covered on CBT.

    Sorry but not unusually, EU law is wrong – anyone who has seen the scooter psychos around Rome will know that their perspective is quite different. My perspective is one of a parent, a personal safety adviser, a person who has both bike and car licences and has close and regular contact with road safety professionals, including a P2W expert.

    Tony North – Sedgley DY3 3RX
    Agree (2) | Disagree (2)

    Is this a modern equivalent of the Robin Reliant and the old Citroen scooter-van whose proper name I can’t recall? Or am I just showing my age? Careful answers only, please.

    Honor Byford, North Yorkshire
    Agree (0) | Disagree (2)

    What worries me is that in West Berkshire we have a local Motorbike supplier promoting one of these on their forecourt. How is a CBT potentially on a twist and go, a good grounding for knowledge transfer on how to drive/park a car especially at 16? Are parents really willing to put their young person under such risk?

    Cheryl Evans
    Agree (2) | Disagree (3)

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.