Mobility scooters are commonplace on many UK roads, and recent stats found that in 2018, 24,944 scooters were purchased in the UK. They are undoubtedly an essential aspect of independence in those affected by disability, so following the rules which apply to them is vital. However, many users could be unaware of the regulations which apply to them whilst using their scooter.
Whilst you do not need a license or a driving test to drive a mobility scooter, users must adhere to rules determined by the category of their scooters. Class three invalid carriages are the only type permitted on roads, and as a result they must be registered with the relevant authorities. Class two invalid carriages are limited to pavements, and they do not need to be registered. Speed limits also apply in both cases, with class three carriages observing a maximum speed of eight miles per hour, and second-class carriages mustn’t exceed four miles per hour. A further requirement of driving mobility scooters on roads is that they must have full lights and indicators, for safety purposes.
Driving mobility scooters on UK motorways is not permitted, but dual carriageways can be used permitting that the vehicle is fitted with a flashing orange beacon as specified by the highway code. When using a scooter on a public pavement, vigilance is essential as pedestrians can emerge from beyond the driver’s eyeline. Caution is always required in both situations, as hazards can arise quickly.
Activities such as travel can have varying guidelines on the usage of mobility scooters. For example, most major UK airports will allow scooters to be used within the terminal building, but they are only permitted to be transported in the hold beneath the plane carriage. Public transport such as buses and trains do not specify any requirements for mobility scooters, but some companies do observe permit schemes and outline a specific criteria for scooters. The accessibility of most buses determines whether scooters can travel, as often larger class two or class three carriages will exceed the designated space. Certain models of scooter can also be folded down, allowing them to be transported safely.
Daily tasks such as shopping will usually facilitate scooters and powered wheelchairs, with many pedestrianised areas and accessible facilities signposted throughout the area. Speed should always be accommodating of the environment, in consideration of other shoppers. Scooters may also be challenged by sharp gradients, and occasionally locations with hills can be difficult to navigate. Becoming familiar with these general requirements is an essential for getting the most out of a mobility scooter.
Overall, the regulations on where you can and cannot use a mobility scooter are determined by the classification of the carriage itself. As a rule of thumb, class two carriages are generally not permitted on roads (unless there is no pavement present) and do not need to be registered. Class three carriages must be registered and can be driven on roads, and dual carriageways but they are forbidden on all UK motorways.