Mobility scooters are devices used by people with walking challenges due to injury, age, illness, or impairment. The law categorizes mobility scooters as a type of vehicle. Therefore, as vehicles, they should be allowed on the road. They are also subject to specific rules. This post discusses whether or not these vehicles are allowed on the road and the rules they must adhere to.
Can mobility scooters be used on the road?
In the UK, mobility scooters are allowed on the road to meet specific requirements defined by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.
Requirements for riding mobility scooters on the road
Mobility scooters allowed on the road are known as road-legal mobility scooters. A road-legal mobility scooter must meet the following requirements;
The scooters must feature a maximum speed of 4mph off the road and be capable of up to 8mph on the road. This means that its speed on the road should be at least twice its speed off the road. Mobility scooters with a maximum speed of 4mph off the road and eight mph on the road are classified under class 3 scooters. All scooters with lower speeds are class 2 scooters and are not allowed on the road. Class 2 scooters can only be allowed on the road without pavement, which cannot be avoided.
Weight and width
Mobility scooters are only allowed on the road if they have a maximum weight of 150 kgs without a driver. They also need to have a total width of 0.85 meters.
The scooters must also meet some safety requirements. For instance, mobility scooters are only allowed on the road if they have an adequate braking system. The braking system must be inspected to ensure effectiveness. Furthermore, the scooters must have reflectors and front and rear lights. Another safety requirement of road-legal mobility scooters is the indicators. The indicators must be capable of operating as hazard warning signals. Finally, the mobility scooters must have an audible horn, rearview mirror, and an amber flashing light if the user plans to use them on a dual carriageway.
Like any vehicle, a mobility scooter cannot be taken on the road without proper registration. The mobility scooter must be registered with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). The operator must complete a V55/4 form for a new scooter or a V55/5 form for a used one. After completing the documents, the DVLA will provide a tax disc, which must be displayed on the mobility scooter. Kindly note that the registration is free, and the required forms are available online. You can complete the registration online or send the complete documents by post to the DVLA.
It is also worth mentioning that the mobility scooters must be registered with their owner, who needs to be 14years old or older.
The vehicle will also only be allowed on the road if it is in a roadworthy condition. Therefore, it needs to be serviced regularly and properly maintained.
Requirements for the operator
The requirements explained above pertain to the mobility scooter. However, there are also some requirements for the vehicle’s operator. They include;
• The operator should not be younger than 14 years old
• The operator should have difficulty walking because of injury, physical impairment, or a medical condition. However, demonstrators or trainers using mobility scooters are also allowed on the road.
• The operator should be able to read vehicles’ number plates from at least 40 feet.
Even if a mobility scooter meets the requirements above, there are still some restrictions. For instance, the scooter cannot be driven on motorways, bus lanes, or cycle-only lanes. They are also not allowed on dual carriageways with speed limits of over 50mph.
Driving mobility scooters on sidewalks or pavements
Even if your mobility scooter meets all the requirements above, you should use the pavement where possible. Operating on the pavement is safer. When driving your mobility scooter on the pavement and in pedestrian areas, you must follow some rules. These are basic rules that other pavement operators apply. One of the rules is that pedestrians should always have priority in all circumstances.
Below are some restrictions for driving mobility scooters on sidewalks;
• You must not exceed four miles per hour
• You must not obstruct pedestrian movement
• Always consider people with baby carriages
Below are some commonly asked questions regarding this subject;
Do you need a license to operate a mobility scooter on the road?
This is a commonly asked question by mobility scooter owners. The straightforward answer is NO. A license is not required for mobility scooters because these vehicles feature a low speed. Therefore, all you need is a registration certificate from the DVLA. However, this does not apply to all states. Some states require mobility scooters to have licenses.
Do you need a driving test for a mobility scooter?
There is no driving test for mobility scooters on the road. However, the law requires every operator to follow the Highway Code. The Highway Code features rules like observing road signs and traffic lights, using scooter lights, indicators, and horns when necessary, and considering other road users and pedestrians.
Do you need to pay road tax for mobility scooters?
Mobility scooters are exempted from road tax as long as they have a device limiting their speed to 4 mph off the road and eight mph on the road.
Are there eyesight requirements for mobility scooter operators?
While there are no specific legal requirements regarding a mobility scooter’s operator, the DVLA requires that all drivers should be able to read a car’s registration number from 40 feet.
Do you need insurance for road-legal mobility scooters?
The law does not necessarily require insurance. Therefore, you can still drive the vehicle on the road legally without insurance. However, it is highly recommended.
Do mobility scooters have parking restrictions?
All normal parking restrictions for vehicles apply to mobility scooters. For instance, the vehicle should not be left unattended in a pedestrian area, especially if it gets in the way of other pedestrians.
Mobility scooters are allowed on the road if they meet the class-3 scooter requirements. However, it is worth mentioning that the conditions may differ from one place to another. For instance, the UK requirements may vary from those in the US. Therefore, it would be wise to research the requirements in your area before taking your scooter on the road.