Mobility scooters on UK roads.
Here is a list of things you need to know when using a scooter on the road.
- Scooters that can be used on the road are known as a Class 3 ‘invalid carriage’.
- On the road scooters can travel at a maximum speed of 8mph.
- If used on footpaths, the maximum speed is 4mph.
- A class 3 vehicle must be registered with the DVLA.
- For a class 3 vehicle you need to have a tax disc, but this is free of charge.
- You have to be at least 14 years old to drive a Class 3 mobility scooter.
- If you are using the road, follow the rules that other road users follow. This means road signs and traffic lights. Use your scooter’s lights, indicators, and horn.
- Take other road users and pedestrians into account.
- Never drive your scooter on the motorway.
- Insurance is not required for mobility scooters, but it is recommended.
- You do not need to pass a driving test to use a mobility scooter on the road or pavement.
- Keep your scooter roadworthy and well maintained.
- If you have a Class 3 scooter, use the pavement if possible.
- If you are using the pavement, follow the rules that other pedestrians follow (or should follow).
- Pedestrians have priority. Remember not all pedestrians will see you. People with a sight or hearing impairment, or other elderly or disabled people might not be aware you are there, and they may not move out of your way.
Insurance and mobility scooters
As the law stands at the moment, you do not legally have to have insurance for your mobility scooter. There are good reasons to have insurance though:
- In case your scooter is damaged, or stolen.
- In case you cause an accident in your scooter, either to a pedestrian or property.
- We all think we are good drivers, but sometimes accidents do happen.
Mobility scooters can be expensive to buy and they are your link to mobility and independence. Insurance can mean you keep your independence in the event of something happening to your scooter.
Here is some information on mobility scooter insurance.
Types of insurance
- Third Party insurance – covers repairs and damage you have caused to other property/people.
- Insurance to cover repairs/damage to your scooter.
Typical Insurance Benefits – what does it mean?
- Any Driver – are YOU insured or is it your SCOOTER that is insured? With any driver policies, you can let other people drive your scooter with your permission and they are covered by your insurance.
- Accidental Damage – for example – are you covered if you back your car into your scooter and it is damaged, or if you drop paint all over your scooter?
- Fire Damage – are you covered if your scooter is damaged or destroyed by fire?
- Flood Damage – are you covered if your scooter is damaged or destroyed by flooding?
- Loss or damage caused by theft or attempted theft – what happens if someone steals your scooter either when it is parked at home, or while you are out?
- New for old replacement - will you get a replacement with the same specification and value of the one you have insured?
- Public liability – if you have injured a member of the public, they may sue you for damages. Does your policy cover the cost of this? Some policies will cover you up to £2million for public liability.
- Get your home expenses – does your policy cover the cost of getting you home after an accident – remember you won’t be able to use your scooter if it is damaged.
- Excess - are you expected to pay the 1st part of any claim?
- No claims bonus - do you get a discount each year if you haven’t made a claim?
- World-wide cover – is your scooter covered for trips abroad?
- Temporary cover – this covers mobility equipment you have on loan while your scooter is being repaired or a new one delivered to you.
- Temporary hire cover – this covers equipment that you need to hire while your scooter is being repaired or a new one delivered to you.
- Storm Damage - does your policy cover any damage caused by storms?
- Personal Injury Benefit – what would be paid out if you are seriously injured or killed? Find out what injuries are covered.
- Personal effects cover – if any of your possessions are damaged or stolen in an accident or incident – are they covered?
Do mobility scooters need road tax in the UK?
Mobility scooters are often known as invalid carriages for the purposes of road tax.
Invalid carriages are separated into 3 categories:
These are manual wheelchairs. It doesn’t matter whether you wheel yourself or have someone helping you, if it is not electric, you don’t need road tax, and don’t need to register with the DVLA.
These are electric wheelchairs and the smaller kind of mobility scooter. If your powered wheelchair or scooter is not intended to, and can’t go faster than 4mph, you are only allowed to drive on the footpath, not the road, and you do not need road tax or register with the DVLA. This kind of invalid carriage must not be heavier than 113.4kgs (the scooter or wheelchair, on its own without anything on it)
- These are powered scooters or wheelchairs that can travel up to 8 mph.
- These are designed to be driven on the road. They can be driven on the footpath, if there is a way of limiting their speed to 4mph or less while you are using the footpath.
- This kind of invalid carriage must not be heavier than 150kgs (the scooter or wheelchair, on its own without anything on it)
- These scooters need to be registered with the DVLA.
- They need to display a road tax disc.
- Post offices that issue tax discs have the form you need to send to the DVLA. The form is V55/5 for used vehicles or V55/4 for new vehicle. You can also call them or use their website.
- The tax disc does NOT cost anything.
Other important information on road tax and mobility scooters
- If you don’t register your Class 3 scooter with the DVLA you could be liable for a fine, just like if you don’t tax your car, or inform the DLVA that it is unused and off the road.
- You don’t need registration plates for a Class 3 scooter
Tips on driving safely in your mobility scooter
Anyone is allowed to ride a mobility scooter, and most people drive with courtesy to other people, and drive safely. However do you always drive with safety (yours and other peoples) in mind?
Here are some tips for driving safely in your mobility scooter.
The right scooter.
Is your scooter ideal for your needs? You don’t want one that is too big or too small for you. Get professional advice before you buy your scooter – your doctor or occupational therapist will give you sensible, impartial advice on what you need.
Do you know exactly how to drive your mobility scooter?
It may sound obvious, but make sure you learn about all the controls on your scooter, before you set off for the first time. The controls are simple, but you need to know how to stop, start, change speed, and turn properly.
Is your scooter in top condition?
The battery needs to be charged in advance of using your scooter.
Keeping your scooter clean and dry will help keep it free of rust and grime.
Always get it serviced by a reputable engineer. Many maintenance engineers will service your scooter in your home, so you don’t need to be without it.
Insurance and your scooter.
At the moment, you do not need to have insurance for your mobility scooter. However it is a good idea to get it insured. Whilst most of us drive carefully, accidents do happen.
3rd party insurance will cover you if you injure someone else while on your scooter, or will cover other property if you cause an accident. Comprehensive insurance will cover you if your scooter needs repairing if you cause an accident.
Fire theft and damage insurance would also be useful – you don’t want to be left out of pocket and unable to get out and about if something happens to your scooter.
Planning your journey.
Carefully think about where it is you are going. A route you use by car or on foot may not be the safest or best route on your scooter. Think about whether there are any obstacles or hills on your journey.
Drinking and driving.
You can be arrested for being drunk in charge of a carriage.
To be safe on your mobility scooter; it makes sense that you have not used drink or drugs before hand. Remember about your prescription drugs too. Some of these may inhibit your judgement, and make driving unsafe. Do not use your scooter if you have taken medication that may make you drowsy.
Your mobility scooter may not go as fast as a car, but you can still cause serious damage to other road users and pedestrians.
Bags and clothing.
Don’t overload or hang bags from your scooter. Likewise with your clothes. Don’t wear anything that is loose or could get caught on something. Wear bright clothing, reflective or florescent clothing is best. Be visible at all times. (Use the lights on your scooter – this will help other road users see you.)
Don’t carry any passengers on your scooter. Not even a child.
Even well behaved pets can be a danger. Don’t carry them on your scooter or have them on a lead off your scooter.
Driving on the pavement.
Some scooters are designed to be used on the pavement – but remember - pedestrians have the right of way.
Always make sure your scooter is set to a maximum speed of 4mph when you are on the pavement. Drive slower if there are pedestrians about, you are in a shopping area or a shop.
Driving on the road.
Scooters that can drive at 6 or 8mph are allowed to drive on the road. However you must also have lights at the front and back, indicators and a horn.
You must be extra vigilant when using the road on your scooter. Other traffic will be going faster than you, and may not have much patience with a slow vehicle like yours. Always make sure you have enough space and time for any manoeuvre you need to perform.
Take care when crossing roads or going up and down curbs. Try to cross roads where there is a dropped curb, or a pedestrian crossing. Always approach curbs at a right-angle, this will keep your scooter more stable.
Remember you are not allowed to use bus or taxi lanes, motorways or cycle tracks
Before you buy a mobility scooter
Using the right mobility scooter can make such a huge difference in your life. It can mean the difference in not having to rely on friends and family for small shopping trips. It can mean independence where you had very little before. However, for this to happen it is very important to buy the right mobility scooter.
Here are some considerations to think about before buying your scooter.
Where will you be going in your scooter?
- Shopping – you may need to make tight corners around aisles in supermarkets. A smaller, compact or travel scooter will make this easy.
- To friends or family – is there space to park your scooter. Can you drive there and back easily using the battery power in your scooter?
- General use around town – will you need to use roads, or go up and down curbs?
- Further afield, maybe to the next village or town?
Will you be going alone, or with someone?
- It is no good getting a scooter that travels at 8mph on the road if someone is coming with you, but walking – they don’t want to be running at your side to keep up!
Where are the places you want to visit?
- Are you going to travel there on your scooter or do you need to put it in the car and drive their first? Can it be dismantled easily for putting in the car?
- If you are going to put it in the car, how heavy is it, can you dismantle it and put it in the car yourself, or will you need help?
- Compact scooters tend to be lighter, and are specially designed to be taken apart and put in the car.
Do you want to travel longer distances?
- The larger 4 wheel scooters can travel further, and are more stable. How far you can travel will depend on the sort of terrain you are travelling on (are you doing to go up hills?) and how much weight the scooter is carrying (you and any baggage). It is not unreasonable to ask some larger heavy duty scooters to travel up to 30 miles on one charge though.
What is your mobility like?
- If you have any balance concerns, you might want a more stable 4 wheel scooter.
- Will you need any help transferring into and out of the scooter?
- If you use a walking stick, is there a walking stick holder on the scooter?
- Do you need plenty of leg room? The 3 wheel, full size scooters generally have the most leg room.
Where are you going to store your scooter?
- Do you have a garage, or space for your scooter, or are you going to need to store it inside? Some of the more compact/travel scooters come apart into quite small pieces and can be stored in a cupboard.
Is it within your budget to buy 2 mobility scooters?
- If you have a garage or space for storage, you might want to consider a more robust scooter, for travelling out and about, and a more compact scooter that you can put in the car and use in tighter spaces like the shops.