Providing recreational side-by-side vehicle opportunities on your private property

Side-by-side vehicles (SSVs) are an off-road motor vehicle, where the operator and passengers sit next to each other.

SSVs are used for private and commercial activities, including:

  • agriculture
  • adventure tourism
  • recreation.

You must understand and meet safety regulations and industry standards to provide recreational opportunities for SSVs and other off-road recreation activities on your private property.

Person wearing a helmet and protective clothing dirving a mud-covered side-by-side vehicle outdoors
Example of a side-by-side vehicle

Your regulatory responsibilities

If you already offer commercial or public recreational use for SSVs on your private property, ensure you comply with local laws regarding noise, air pollution, parking, and operating hours.

Contact your local council or search the local laws database.

If you are considering offering SSV recreational opportunities on your private property, you may need to apply for development approval (e.g. if you clear vegetation on your land for SSV use). Contact your local council to find out if a development application is required.

Workplace health and safety

As the owner of an SSV recreation business on private land, you have legal responsibilities under the Workplace Health and Safety Act 2011, to ensure (as far as reasonably practicable) that workers and other persons are not exposed to health and safety risks arising from your business.

Learn more about your rights and obligations.

Importantly, when operating SSVs on private land, it is an offence to drink drive, drug drive, or drive carelessly or dangerously.

Risk assessment and management

Before allowing SSV use on your private property, you should conduct appropriate risk assessments. These allow you to identify and assess potential hazards and implement controls to eliminate or minimise risks.

If you already allow SSV use, ensure you monitor and review existing controls, so they remain effective. Learn more about risk management.

Incompetent operation and hidden hazards can cause serious injury, or even death to drivers and passengers. They can be thrown or crushed by overturning SSVs or struck repeatedly while inside the vehicle cabin, or by loose objects.

As part of your risk assessment, consider:

  • the vehicle and how it is operated
  • the operator’s skill and experience
  • the environmental condition of your land, including
    • hidden objects like logs or rocks in long grass
    • fire risks
    • location of drains and other hazards.

If you are running your SSV recreation business on private land that is also a farm, you must identify and manage risks or hazards for children and young people on your farm.

Inquiries, coroner’s reports and inquests

Read previous inquiries, coroner’s reports and inquests to provide insights into the risks associated with SSV use, and the importance of workplace health and safety and risk management on your private property:

Regular SSV maintenance

You must regularly assess your SSVs to ensure they are maintained according to manufacturer specifications. For example, components like brakes and tires should be checked to ensure they are working properly and inflated to the correct pressure.


It is important that you understand the skills and technical knowledge necessary to operate and provide support to users of SSVs on your private property.

The operate side-by-side utility vehicles (AHCMOM216) course will help you understand how to safety and responsibly operate SSVs.

Conditional registration of SSVs

SSVs do not meet the required design rules of a standard vehicle and are therefore not  eligible for full vehicle registration.

If a non-standard vehicle such as an SSV is only used on private property, it may not need conditional registration. However, if there is a genuine need to access a road, an SSV may be conditionally registered.

In Queensland, it is illegal to drive a non-standard vehicle on the road without conditional registration.

Note that conditionally registered SSVs must obey traffic and road rules when operating on a public road.

Learn more about conditional registration requirements for using a non-standard vehicle on a road and how to apply.

If you provide SSV recreational use on your private property, you are strongly encouraged to notify your SSV users of any public roads they may need to access so that they can comply with their conditional registration obligations.

Resources to help business

Industry associations

  • Explore the benefits of membership and affiliation with Motorcycling Queensland and Motorcycling Australia, including automatic insurance cover.
  • Motorsport Australia provide public and product liability and personal accident insurance that is tailored to the motorsport needs of car clubs, licence holders and volunteers.
  • Outdoors Queensland provide industry resources to support outdoor recreation providers to build their capability across a diverse range of areas.
  • The Outdoor Council of Australia oversees the Australian Adventure Activity Standard (AAAS), related good practice guides and core good practice guide, which provide a voluntary framework for planning and conducting outdoor adventure activities, with an emphasis on safe and responsible practices.

Business support

Tourism support

  • Tourism & Events Queensland is Queensland’s lead marketing, tourism experience and destination development and major events agency. They provide resources that support Queensland’s tourism businesses to build capacity and capability.
  • Queensland Tourism Industry Council, the peak body for tourism in Queensland, provides support and guidance to all its member businesses including accreditation and business capability programs.
  • Queensland’s Regional Tourism Organisations can assist local businesses and members with marketing, promotion and distribution.
  • The Department of Tourism and Sport provides funding programs, tourism strategies, partnership and development opportunities and industry resources for the tourism industry.

Disclaimer: This page provides links to government and industry resources that will support private landowners providing SSV recreational opportunities to understand their legal and regulatory obligations as a recreational business operator, adopt industry best practice safety and harm minimisation approaches, and connect to existing resources that can support and better promote SSV recreational businesses on private land in Queensland. The material presented on this page is provided by the Queensland Government for information purposes only. To the best of the Queensland Government’s knowledge, the material was current at the time of publication. Business owners providing SSV recreation opportunities on private land remain responsible for satisfying themselves as to the material’s accuracy, completeness and currency and relevance for their circumstances. The Queensland Government expressly disclaims all liability (including but not limited to liability for negligence) for errors and omissions of any kind whatsoever or for any loss (including direct and indirect losses), damage or other consequence which may arise from a business owners access to, reliance on, use of, or inability to use the site.