Mobility Scooters UK: Regulations and Rules Explained
Getting a mobility scooter can be life-changing for many people, giving you a completely new level of freedom and independence if you have previously suffered from mobility issues.
If you’ve recently bought a mobility scooter, you probably can’t wait to get outside and try it out – but it helps to know the rules and regulations for mobility scooters in the UK first.
Driving a mobility scooter can be dangerous, especially if you don’t know the laws surrounding your vehicle – both to keep you and those around you safe.
In 2016, 14 people died as a result of mobility scooter accidents – an enormous increase compared to the one death reported just five years previously.
As a result, it’s essential that you inform yourself about the rules and regulations for mobility scooters to ensure you and those around you stay safe when you are driving.
Below, we’ve answered some of the most commonly asked questions on mobility scooter UK rules and regulations to better prepare you for getting out and about on your new scooter.
Who Can Drive a Mobility Scooter?
Not just anyone can drive a mobility scooter! You can drive a mobility scooter only if you have a physical disability, or limited mobility because of an injury or medical condition.
The only exceptions are if you are demonstrating a mobility scooter before it is sold, taking the scooter to or from repairs, or if you are training a disabled user to use the vehicle.
What Age Do I Need to Be to Drive a Mobility Scooter?
Mobility scooters can be an extremely useful addition to someone’s life if they have mobility issues, but there are age limits to ensure that the people driving a scooter can be safe and responsible when out on the roads or pavement.
To drive a class 3 invalid carriage, in other words, a powered mobility scooter as opposed to a manual wheelchair, you must be at least 14 years old.
What’s the Difference Between Powered Wheelchairs, Manual Wheelchairs, and Mobility Scooters?
If you’ve just started shopping around for a wheelchair or mobility scooter, you might be a little confused about what exactly each vehicle is – and what’s the difference between them!
Wheelchairs, powered wheelchairs and mobility scooters are considered ‘Invalid Carriages’ by law. Each of these vehicles has their own ‘class’, and their own set of rules and regulations that apply to this class:
- Class 1: Manual wheelchairs
- Class 2: Powered wheelchairs (max speed limit of 4mph)
- Class 3: Powered mobility scooters (max speed limit of 8mph)
Manual wheelchairs (Class1) and powered wheelchairs with a speed limit of 4mph (Class 2) are designed for use on footways or pavements, while powered mobility scooters (Class 3) have a maximum speed limit of 8mph and are equipped to be used on the road as well as the pavements and footways.
As a driver of any of the different classes of mobility scooters or Invalid Carriages, you’re required to obey the rules for other motor vehicles when you’re using the road. When you’re using the pavements or footpaths, the same rules which apply to pedestrians apply to you.
This rules and regulations are designed to keep you and the people around you safe – manual and powered wheelchairs are not designed for road use and disregarding these rules can be a great danger to everyone around you.
If you want to be able to specifically use the roads, considering a Class 3 powered mobility scooter may be the best option for you.
Can you ride a mobility scooter on the pavement?
Yes, you can ride a mobility scooter on the pavement. In fact, pavements provide more safety than roads and should be used whenever possible.
You should note, however, that pedestrians do have priority and you must be considerate of other pavement users, especially those who may have visual or hearing impairments and might not be aware that you’re there.
Is there a speed limit when riding a mobility scooter on the pavement?
Yes, there is a speed limit when riding a mobility scooter on the pavement. You are legally required to travel at a speed of 4mph or less on pavements and in pedestrian areas. Of course, you should go even slower if the pavements are busy or narrow.
According to Law UICHR 1988 reg 4, you have to obey the same rules as all other drivers or pedestrians so when you move from the pavement onto the road you are to ensure there are no obstructions or obstacles and that it is safe to do so. Look left, right and left again before crossing roads.
Is it legal to drive a mobility scooter on the road?
Mobility scooters are allowed on the road in the UK, provided they are a Class 3 vehicle and meet certain requirements as set out by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).
These conditions required that mobility scooters may only be driven on the roads if they have a maximum unladen weight of 150kg, a maximum width of 0.85 metres, and are capable of travelling at 8 mph (12.8ph) on the roads.
What’s more, the DVLA require that mobility scooters suitable for road use must have a working braking system with front and rear lights and reflectors, indicators, an audible horn, a rearview mirror, and an amber flashing light if the mobility scooter is to be used on a dual carriageway.
Do I need vehicle tax for my mobility scooter?
Mobility scooters are exempt from paying vehicle tax if the maximum speed is 8mph on the road, and they are fitted with a device that limits the speed to 4mph on footways. Gov.uk states that even if you don’t have to pay vehicle tax, you still need to apply for vehicle tax. You register for nil value tax.
The UK government subsidises the lease of mobility scooters under the Motability Scheme. There are different mobility scooter classifications for legal purposes, and there are certain stipulations for each class, like the speed limit per scooter and age restrictions, such as Class 3 mobility scooters where you have to be over 14 years of age.
If you want to register and apply for registration of Class III Invalid Carriage (three-wheeled vehicle), you’ll need to fill in a V55/4 form for a new vehicle, or a V55/5 for a used vehicle. The forms are available from the DVLA online ordering service.
Do I need insurance for a mobility scooter?
You are not legally required to have insurance for your mobility scooter. It is, however, strongly recommended to protect yourself against financial costs of repairs, third party liability should you hurt someone else with your scooter, as well as covering you against things such as theft, puncture repairs, and recovery.
Surewise.com offer mobility scooter insurance with cover for accidents, theft, puncture repairs, recovery and more for as little as £4.40 per month. Get your quote here and give yourself the peace of mind that you’re covered against the unexpected when using your mobility scooter.
Am I eligible for a blue badge?
Blue badges allow you to park in places that other drivers cannot – for example, parking spaces that are reserved for Blue Badge holders.
When you receive your Blue Badge, you can use it with any car, including taxis, hire cars you are driving, and cars you are travelling in as a passenger.
You will automatically qualify for a blue badge if:
- You are registered blind
- You receive a higher rate of the mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance.
- You are given the War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement
- You have received a lump sum payment from the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
However, you may still be eligible for the blue badge if you:
- Have a severe disability that affects your mobility
- Are unable to use your arms
- Have permanent problems walking