We all want to stay on the right side of the law, so if you are thinking of buying or leasing, or if you have just taken delivery of your new vehicle,
you will want to know how to stay legal on a mobility scooter .
The good news is, it is really not that hard with surprisingly few statutory obligations to adhere to. But while there are many things which you can do legally, there are some which are highly inadvisable and there are a few things which you might not realise you can’t do.
What type of insurance do you need?
Astonishingly, at the time of writing, there is no legal requirement to have insurance on any type of mobility scooter. The official government website merely recommends it. So just to stay legal on a mobility 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 for you right here.
Do you need road tax for a 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 mobility scooter in the same way as you register a car. The easiest way to do this is online via gov.uk/dvlaforms
Do you need a driving licence for 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 required to obey the Highway Code so if you have never driven a car, you would be well advised to get some instruction before setting out on the roads.
Is there an eye-test for a mobility scooter?
Again, you are not required to pass an eye test nor are you required to wear corrective lenses if you don’t have normal vision. It is still wise to ensure that you can see adequately, for your own safety and that of others. As with most issues here, your common sense will be much in demand.
Is it against the law to drink and drive on a mobility scooter?
Another surprising fact is that because a mobility scooter is defined in law as an invalid carriage, it is not covered (at the time of writing) by current drink-driving legislation.
Nevertheless, you should not take this as a license to drink as much as you like and ride home. If you want to stay legal on a mobility scooter, then the best advice is still not to drink and drive. You can be stopped by the police if you are not in proper control of your vehicle for any reason. If your driving is a danger to the public or yourself or if your behaviour is erratic or aggressive, then you can be arrested. Also, if you do have an accident as a result of being drunk, your insurance will probably not cover you for any costs you incur, including legal costs.
Can I take a passenger on a mobility scooter?
Regarding carrying passengers, in order to stay legal on a mobility scooter, the short answer is no. Although two-seater mobility scooters do exist, they are not by definition invalid carriages under UK law. As such they must not be used on any public highway but may be used on private lands, such as a hospital, holiday park, nursing home and similar. Both class 2 and class 3 mobility scooters are intended for single person use only and you should never give lifts to friends on any public highway.
Young children as passengers are also not allowed as you will be putting the safety of both the child and yourself at risk as well as being on the wrong side of the law. The exception to this is for an infant being carried in a sling or pouch. As with other improper use of the vehicle, you may well find that your insurance will only pay out for third-party claims if it is found that carrying passengers has contributed to an accident.
How do the rules of the road apply to me?
For once the law here is clear and unequivocal. All the provisions of the Highway Code which apply to other road users also apply to riders of invalid carriages. When using the roads, you must not go the wrong way on a one-way-street, go through red lights or ignore other street signs. All parking restrictions still apply as well, so make sure you park legally to avoid a ticket. There are some exceptions of course. The most obvious being that because an invalid carriage is not a motor vehicle as defined in the law, you may, of course, use it in pedestrian areas, even if the sign prohibits bicycles! Conversely, you must not under any circumstances take it onto a motorway. You might think that does not need saying, yet there have been several occasions when police have had to escort riders from various motorways. In many cases, because the rider had become confused, no further action was taken. In all cases, the riders may be considered fortunate the police got to them first.