We all want to stay on the right side of the law, so if you are thinking of buying or leasing, or have just taken delivery of, a new mobility vehicle that should help you regain your independence, you will want to make sure you aren’t breaking any rules when using one of our lightweight mobility scooters.
The good news is that staying legal on a scooter isn’t that hard, with surprisingly few statutory obligations for you to adhere to. But, while there are many things you can do legally, there are some which are highly inadvisable and a few that you might not realise you couldn’t do.
What type of insurance do I need?
As of April 2019, there is no legal requirement for users to have insurance for any type of mobility scooter – the official government website merely recommends it. So, this aspect of sticking to the law whilst riding your scooter is easy. However, the cost of insurance is not high and the potential for losses should you be involved in an accident, particularly if you are found to be at fault or if you incur legal fees, could be very significant.
If you do decide to take out insurance, you can get advice on the best policy by contacting the friendly team at Monarch Mobility. Simply click here and fill in our simple form, call us on 0808 102 2218 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do I need to tax my mobility scooter?
If you own a Class 2 mobility scooter or powered wheelchair then, because it is not intended for use on the roads, you are not required to register it at all. For Class 3 mobility scooter users, there is zero tax to pay but, in order to stay legal, you do need to register your scooter in the same way you would a car. The easiest way to do this is online via gov.uk/dvlaforms.
Do I need a driving licence to use a mobility scooter?
There is currently no test and no requirement to hold a valid driving licence in order to ride any class of mobility scooter. However, you are still required to obey the Highway Code so, if you have never driven a car, you would be well advised to get some professional instruction before setting out on the roads. Training and assessment sessions are available at dedicated centres nationwide, such as this one in Surrey, run by the Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People.
Do I need to take an eye test to use a mobility scooter?
Again, you are not required to pass an eye test to use a mobility scooter, nor do you have to wear corrective lenses if you don’t have normal vision. Of course, it is still wise to ensure that you can see adequately whilst driving, both for your own safety and that of others. As with most issues discussed here, using your common sense is key!
Is it against the law to drink and drive on a mobility scooter?
Another surprising fact is that, because a mobility scooter is defined by law as an invalid carriage, it is not covered (as of April 2019) by current drink-driving legislation.
Nevertheless, you should not take this as a license to drink as much as you like and then ride home. If you want to stay legal on a mobility scooter, the best advice is to never drink and drive, as you can be stopped by the police if not in proper control of your vehicle for any reason. If your driving is deemed to be a danger to the public, or yourself, or if your behaviour is erratic or aggressive, then you can be arrested.
It is also worth bearing in mind that, if you do have an accident on your scooter as a result of being under the influence of alcohol, your insurance will probably not cover you for any costs, including legal expenses, that may be incurred.
Can I take a passenger on my mobility scooter?
The short answer is ‘no’. Although two-seater mobility scooters do exist, they are not defined as invalid carriages by UK law. Therefore, they must not be driven on any public highway but may be used in private areas such as hospitals, holiday parks, and nursing homes. Both Class 2 and Class 3 mobility scooters are intended for single-person use only and you should never carry passengers on any public highway.
Young children are no exception to this rule, as letting them ride as passengers would put the safety of both yourself and the child at risk, as well as being illegal; the only instance when having a child on-board with you would be legal is when carrying an infant in a sling or pouch. As with any other improper use of your vehicle, you may well find that, if irresponsibly carrying passengers were to cause an accident, your insurance would only pay out for third-party claims.
How do the rules of the road apply to me?
The law here is clear and unequivocal: all the provisions of the Highway Code which other road users must abide by also apply to riders of invalid carriages. When using the roads, you must not go the wrong way down a one-way street, go through red lights or ignore any other street signs. All normal parking restrictions apply as well, so make sure you park legally to avoid getting a ticket.
There are some exceptions, of course – the most obvious being that, because an invalid carriage is not a motor vehicle as defined by law, you may use it in pedestrian areas, even if the sign prohibits bicycles. Conversely, you must not under any circumstances take your mobility scooter onto a motorway. You might think that does not need saying, but there have been several occasions when police have had to escort riders off various motorways. In many cases, because the rider had become confused, no further action was taken; in all cases, however, the riders may be considered fortunate the police reached them promptly.