There’s much ado about an obscure European law dating back to the early 70s which has been dragged back into the light. The law effectively makes insurance for all motorised vehicles, including motorised wheelchairs, ride-on lawnmowers, golf-buggies and mobility scooters, compulsory.
Currently, nobody in the EU or UK is quite sure what the implications are, as the law has yet to be fully unravelled and properly dissected. However, if insurance does indeed become compulsory it will impact thousands of users who will suddenly have to come up with an extra £100 a year or so for third party liability insurance.
At present, the law in the UK is that mobility scooter users don’t need insurance, not even third party liability cover, while golf-buggies, quad bikes and ride-on lawnmowers need insurance if the vehicles are driven on public roads. However, even before the EU directive for motorised vehicle insurance was rediscovered, the government was already thinking about making third party liability insurance mandatory for mobility scooters.
There have been arguments that many people who rely on mobility scooters can’t afford insurance, but the flip side of the coin is that they can afford a lawsuit for negligence even less. The Telegraph cited Cecilia Frodsham from Stephensons Solicitors, who said that mobility scooter drivers are strongly advised to take out third party liability cover, just in case they accidentally hit or otherwise injure pedestrians. Annual third party liability insurance for mobility scooters is estimated to cost between £60 and £90.
The UK’s department for transportation has communicated that it is keeping a close eye on developments in Brussels to see how the European law will affect Britons. If the current laws in the UK contravene the EU directive then third-party liability insurance will most likely become compulsory in the UK also. The department has advised scooter owners that they are still acting within the legal framework of the law if they don’t have insurance, but have emphasised that mobility scooter users must keep themselves abreast of any forthcoming changes.