Highway Code for Mobility Scooters and Electric Wheelchairs
Mobility scooters and Electric Wheelchairs are a great way for a person with limited mobility the freedom to go almost anywhere.
Ensure you get a Mobility scooter or Electric Wheelchair that is suitable for your needs. Always seek professional advice when purchasing a mobility scooter or electric wheelchair and always test drive them before you buy it.
Apart from the various rules and regulations that govern the use and transportation of mobility, you must do what it takes to stay safe when operating a mobility scooter outside. Take your scooter out only after you've gained confidence about manoeuvring the vehicle safely. Make sure that you can control the mobility scooter or chair properly before using it in public, and that you know what all the switches and levers are. If you need help or a refresher, contact your local dealer who will be able to help, there may be a small fee for this service depending on the dealer.
Maintain awareness about what's happening around you to contribute to the safety of pedestrians and travellers in vehicles. Turn off the scooter when stationary.
Government Highway code guidance for Mobility Scooters and Electric Wheelchairs
There are three Classes of Mobility Scooters and Wheelchairs. Class 1 are Manual wheelchairs where you use your arms to move the chair, or you are pushed by another person. Class 2 are Mobility Scooters and electric wheelchairs these have a speed limit of 4 mph (6 km/h) and are designed to be used on pavements. Class 3 Mobility Scooters and Electric Wheelchairs are those with an upper speed limit of 8 mph (12 km/h) and must not weigh over 150KG. When driving over 4mph these can legally be driven on the road.
Mobility Scooters and Electric Wheelchairs MUST NOT travel faster than 4 mph (6 km/h) on pavements or in pedestrian areas. You may need to reduce your speed to adjust to other pavement users who may not be able to move out of your way quickly enough or where the pavement is too narrow.
Rules for driving a Mobility Scooter or Electric Wheelchair
When you are on the road you should obey the guidance and rules for other vehicles, when on the pavement you should follow the guidance and rules for pedestrians.
Pavements are safer than roads and should be used when available. You should give pedestrians priority and show consideration for other pavement users, particularly those with a hearing or visual impairment who may not be aware that you are there.
When moving off the pavement onto the road, you should take special care. Before moving off, always look round and make sure it’s safe to join the traffic. Always try to use dropped kerbs when moving off the pavement, even if this means travelling further to locate one. If you have to climb or descend a kerb, always approach it at right angles and don’t try to negotiate a kerb higher than the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations.
You should take care when travelling on the road as you may be travelling more slowly than other traffic (your machine is restricted to 8 mph (12 km/h) and may be less visible)
When on the road, Class 3 vehicles should travel in the direction of the traffic. Class 2 users should always use the pavement when it is available. When there is no pavement, you should use caution when on the road. Class 2 users should, where possible, travel in the direction of the traffic. If you are travelling at night when lights MUST be used, you should travel in the direction of the traffic to avoid confusing other road users.
You MUST follow the same rules about using lights, indicators, and horns as for other road vehicles, if your vehicle is fitted with them. At night, lights MUST be used. Be aware that other road users may not see you and you should make yourself more visible - even in the daytime and at dusk - by, for instance, wearing a reflective jacket or reflective strips on the back of the vehicle.
Take extra care at road junctions. When going straight ahead, check to make sure there are no vehicles about to cross your path from the left, the right, or overtaking you and turning left. There are several options for dealing with right turns, especially turning from a major road. If moving into the middle of the road is difficult or dangerous, you can
- stop on the left-hand side of the road and wait for a safe gap in the traffic
- negotiate the turn as a pedestrian, i.e., travel along the pavement and cross the road between pavements where it is safe to do so. Class 3 users should switch the vehicle to the lower speed limit when on pavements.
If the junction is too hazardous, it may be worth considering an alternative route. Similarly, when negotiating major roundabouts (i.e., with two or more lanes) it may be safer for you to use the pavement or find a route which avoids the roundabout altogether.
All normal parking restrictions should be observed. Your vehicle should not be left unattended if it causes an obstruction to other pedestrians - especially those in wheelchairs.
These vehicles MUST NOT be used on motorways, bus lanes, or cycle only lanes. They should not be used on unrestricted dual carriageways where the speed limit exceeds 50 mph (80 km/h) but if they are used on these dual carriageways, they MUST have a flashing amber beacon. A flashing amber beacon should be used on all other dual carriageways.
When you are passing parked cars, look out for doors opening.
Do you need a Driving licence?
A Class 3 vehicle is not legally defined as a motor vehicle and the user does not have to have a driving licence or take a driving test.
Who can use a Mobility Scooter or Electric Wheelchair?
A Mobility Scooter or Electric Wheelchair can only be used by a disabled person, or by an able-bodied person who is demonstrating it before selling it, training a disabled user, or taking a vehicle to or from a place for maintenance or repair.
Does a Mobility Scooter need a tax Disc?
Only Class 3 Mobility Scooter or Electric Wheelchair must be registered with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). It must be licensed in the disabled taxation class. There is no fee to pay, and the vehicle does not need registration plates. Each class 3 scooter comes with a DVLA registration form V55/4 which needs to be filled in and sent to the DVLA. DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BE.
You cannot licence your Class 3 invalid carriage online or at the Post Office.
Most scooters and wheelchairs will already be registered by the dealer before you buy them.
If your vehicle is not registered, register it by filling in:
When you buy a used mobility scooter or electric wheelchair, the seller will make you the ‘registered keeper’. This means the vehicle will be in your name. You’ll get a new vehicle log book (V5C) in the post within 4 weeks of the sale.
If you do not get a new vehicle log book 4 weeks after the sale, fill in an ‘Application for a vehicle registration certificate’ (V62) and send it to DVLA.
If you need to change your name or address, fill in section 6 of your vehicle log book and send it to DVLA.
Mobility scooter and electric wheelchair maintenance and repairs are crucial in ensuring your safety on the road. You must check that plugs and wires are connected. No wires should remain exposed. The tires should be inflated to the correct pressure. Assembly mechanisms must be locked in place. The adjustable seat should be stably locked in place. The brakes must be in working order. The battery must be charged.
Charge the batteries overnight after you have finished using the mobility scooter or electric wheelchair for day, so it is fully charged for the following day.
The distance you can travel will depend on the condition of the batteries, the weight on the scooter, whether you are travelling up and down hills, the terrain and cold weather.
Do I need insurance?
You do not need insurance for a mobility scooter or electric wheelchair, although it is highly recommended.
Can I Take my mobility scooter or Electric wheelchair on the bus?
You may take manual wheelchairs and possibly smaller mobility scooters or electric wheelchairs but always check that this service is available before you leave.
Can I use my mobility scooter in the rain?
Ideally, do not use your mobility scooter or electric wheelchair when it is raining, they are electrical machines, and the rain can damage the electrics. If you are caught out in the rain, try, and protect the electrics and get undercover as soon as possible. When you have returned home wipe down your mobility scooter or electric wheelchair. NEVER use a hose to wash down your mobility scooter or electric wheelchair, use a damp cloth when cleaning it and dry immediately after.
Make sure the charging port of your mobility scooter/wheelchair is closed when not in use.
Driving in the dark
If you are using your mobility scooter/wheelchair in the dark, ensure you use your lights and wear fluorescent clothing. Ensure your clothing doesn’t restrict your vision.
Avoid wearing loose fitting items such as scarves or belts, so they don’t get caught in the wheels.
Don’t overload your mobility scooter or electric wheelchair as this can make your vehicle unstable and don’t hang bags on the handlebars.
Never allow another person with you on the scooter while you are driving.
Do not use your mobility scooter or electric wheelchair if you have been drinking alcohol or drugs. If you are on medication, if this causes drowsiness, don’t use your mobility scooter or electric wheelchair.
Always seek professional advice when purchasing a mobility scooter or electric wheelchair and always test drive them before you buy it. Maintain awareness about what's happening around you and follow the Highway code to contribute to the safety of pedestrians, travellers in other vehicles and for yourself. Look after your new mobility scooter or Electric Wheelchair and have it serviced once a year by a reputable dealer.