The law and mobility scooters

Unsure about the rules?

We have summarised the points to consider before you purchase a mobility scooter for use in the UK.

How are mobility scooters classified?

Mobility scooters are classified as either Class 2 or Class 3, depending on their maximum speed.

Class 2 scooters (also called "Pavement" scooters) have a maximum speed of 4mph. Class 2 scooters may be foldable for easier transportation. No registration is required to use a Class 2 scooter.

Class 3 scooters (also called "Road" scooters) can be used on public roads with a maximum permitted speed of 8 mph. They must be registered with the DVLA.

Who can use a mobility scooter?

The law states that a Class 2 and Class 3 vehicle may only be used by a disabled person. In addition, a Class 3 vehicle can only be used by a disabled person aged 14 or over. A disabled person in this context is someone with an injury, physical disability or medical condition which means that they are unable to walk or have difficulty in walking.

Where can I use my mobility vehicle?

All vehicles can be used on footpaths, pavements, bridleways, and in pedestrian areas at a maximum speed of 4mph. Class 2 vehicles can be used on the road if a pavement is not available, or where it is necessary to cross the road.

Class 3 vehicles can be used on most roads at a maximum speed of 8mph. They cannot be used on motorways, in bus lanes (when in operation) or in "cycles only" cycle lanes. They should not be used on dual carriageways with a speed limit of over 50 mph. If they are, you must have an amber flashing light for safety reasons. It is advisable that you have an amber flashing light when used on all other dual carriageways.

Can I take my mobility scooter on public transport?

Some smaller models of mobility scooter are accepted on some public transport vehicles, but you must contact the local transport operator to check. 

The Confederation of Passenger Transport has published a non-statutory Voluntary Code of Best Practice for bus operators regarding the use and acceptance of Class 2 mobility scooters on low floor buses adapted to carry wheelchairs. 

All train operating companies will carry lightweight folded mobility scooters as luggage. More details on whether other types of scooters can be transported are provided by individual train operating companies. Contact National Rail Enquiries - www.nationalrail.co.uk (go to Information for Disabled Passengers) or Tel: 08457 48 49 50.

In addition, a comprehensive database of suitable mobility scooter models that can be carried on public transport is now available at: http://rica.orq.uk/contenUscooters-and-powered-wheelchairs

To take a mobility vehicle in a taxi, the local taxi company should be contacted to check whether their taxis are suitable to carry your type of mobility vehicle.

Do I need to register my mobility vehicle?

Mobility vehicles are not legally defined as motor vehicles and, therefore, the user is not required to have a driving licence or to take a test. The vehicles themselves are not subject to Vehicle Excise Duty ('road tax'). However, both new and used Class 3 vehicles have to be registered annually with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). 

If your vehicle is not registered, register it by filling in form V55/4 for new vehicles.

Most scooters and wheelchairs will already be registered by the manufacturer before you buy them. They will make you the "registered keeper" and you will get a new vehicle log book (V5C).

If you need to change your name or address, fill in section 6 of your vehicle log book and send it to the DVLA.

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 the DVLA.

Further information can be obtained from the DVLA Contact Centre - Tel: 0300 790 6802.

Should I have insurance?

Although it is not a legal requirement, it is strongly recommended that people take out insurance to cover personal safety, other people's safety and the value of the vehicle. It will be important to check whether household insurance provides cover to use a vehicle on the public highway, and whether your household insurance covers storage or parking for your vehicle at home.

What about two person vehicles?

Two person mobility vehicles are not permitted to be used on the public highway (i.e. on a pavement or road). They can be used on private land with the permission of the land owner.

It is not permitted to carry anyone else on a mobility vehicle e.g. a baby or a small child. However, the law does not explicitly state that a parent or guardian carrying a child in a pouch or a sling on their person, as an adult who was not disabled would do, is unlawful.

Choosing the right mobility scooter.

Before purchasing, consider hosuitable a scooter might be for your home; in particular, if there are suitable storage and battery charging facilities. Consider whether your weight and build affects the stability of a vehicle; if you have limitations in using your hands you should consider if the controls are suitable. You should also consider whether you will be able to get on and off the vehicle easily. You will need to decide how far you intend to travel and what difficulties your typical journey might entail; for instance, uneven surfaces, high kerbs or steep hills.

Vehicles vary in design, size, features and price, and using a mobility vehicle requires a combination of sight, strength, co-ordination, balance and concentration. 

We have added a checklist on our "Choosing the right mobility scooter" page to help you with this. 

What should I do to prepare myself for going out on my vehicle?

If you are using a mobility vehicle for the first time, or if it is a while since you have driven on the road, you are strongly advised to get some training to ensure that you can steer and control the vehicle properly, especially on uneven surfaces. Your should consider checking your eyesight, reaction time, balance and posture, ability to sit for long periods, concentration and ability to get on and off the vehicle. You may also want to consider having a regular review of your driving skills.

Good vision is important to drive a mobility vehicle safely and you should be able to judge distances, recognise obstacles and hazards, and be able to see pedestrians and other road users. Poor eyesight could be a contributory factor in an incident and could make you liable for a compensation claim. Vision can change with age and you are recommended to have regular sight tests. Therefore, you should have a minimum visual acuity of 6/24.

If you regularly take medication that makes you drowsy, you should consider whether it would be safe to use a mobility vehicle. If you are in any doubt, consult your doctor. You should not use a mobility vehicle if you have been drinking alcohol.

For details of training courses, please contact your local authority or local police force. Some transport operators also provide training if you are intending to take your vehicle on a bus or train.

What 'rules of the road' should I follow?

The Highway Code now has a section on mobility scooters. You should also look at a current edition of the Highway Code and become familiar with the various traffic signs and signals that you will come across when you are using your vehicle.

In addition, be careful not to overload your vehicle, for instance with shopping bags. It may become unstable and difficult to control. Try to carry heavy loads in the centre of the vehicle to maintain stability. Always check the manufacturer's guidance or operator's manual for load limits and advice about your particular scooter or powered chair. Never hang carrier bags on or from the vehicle's tiller or handlebars. Take extra care when going around a sharp corner,a camber or a bendand slodowif necessary. If the vehicle has a lap belt fitted to it, always use it - even for short journeys.

Always plan your journeys carefully, and whenever possible try to stick to the pavement. If you have to use the road, try to reach your destination without having to negotiate major roundabouts, rush-hour traffic, or busy roads. Familiarise yourself with the facilities in your local area, such as dropped kerbs, which will help you to cross roads. However, if the situation on the road does become too daunting, you can always switch to pavement mode (4 mph) and move to the footpath until you feel confident enough to re-join the traffic. Remember, care should also be taken when using the pavement. Pedestrians may not hear a vehicle approaching and might, for instance, change directionwithout warning. Ensure you take a charged mobile phone with sufficient credits on it - in case of an emergency.

If you are travelling at night, lights must be used, for both Class 2 and Class 3 vehicles, but remember it is always a good idea to be as conspicuous as possible. You could wear a fluorescent jacket or attach reflective markings to make you and your vehicle more conspicuous.

How can I keep my vehicle roadworthy?

It is essential that you keep your vehicle in good working order in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations. Vehicle suppliers should be able to answer any questions you might have about the maintenance of specific models.

It is essential to keep your battery in good working order. Your dealer will advise on how often it should be charged, but never start an unfamiliar journey without a fully charged battery, and be aware of your vehicles range on a fullycharged battery. Check your vehicles tyre pressure regularly. How far and how long you can travel on a charge will depend on your weight, the surface on which you are riding, if you are using lights and having the tyres at the correct pressure. Lighting equipment should be kept clean and in good working order. If you are using weather protective capes, or scooter covers, you must ensure nothing obscures your visibility. Windows, windscreens and mirrors should also be clean and clear of obstructions for good all-round vision. It is important that your vehicle undergoes a thorough safety check at least once a year.

If you have any questions about this guidance, please contact:

Department for Transport Sustainable Travel and Equalities Zone 2/15
Great Minster
House
33 Horseferry Road
London
, SW1 P 4DR.

This information contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.