The ins and outs in the United Kingdom
What is a mobility scooter?
A mobility scooter is a small, motorised vehicle that offers you the chance to get around when you're either not comfortable walking long distances or cannot walk at all. They come in a variety of sizes and power categories. Some, you can even drive on a carriageway if the speed limit is 50 mph or less. Others are limited to driving on pavements. No mobility scooter is allowed on a motorway.
Other than trainers or people demonstrating them, only disabled people can use Class 2 and Class 3 mobility scooters in the United Kingdom. Additionally, you must be 14 years of age or older to use such a scooter.
Take advice from your doctor and knowledgeable eBay sellers before you make a final decision on what to buy.
Types of mobility scooters
When it comes to Mobility Scooters in the United Kingdom, the two most common types encountered are Class 2 and Class 3. The main difference is the size and where they?re allowed to be driven.
What is a Class 2 mobility scooter?
Class 2 mobility scooters are either powered wheelchairs or small-scale mobility scooters and are designed only for use on pavements. Class 2 scooters are sometimes referred to as lightweight scooters.
What is a Class 3 mobility scooter?
Also known as Road Class or heavy-duty scooters. Class 3 vehicles are heavier, sturdier, and faster designed for use on both carriageways and pavements.
What is a car boot scooter?
Car boot mobility scooters, so named because they fit into a car's boot, are smaller and lighter versions of full-sized scooters. They are mostly for travel and come in two varieties: dismantling and folding.
Dismantling scooters take time to reassemble, but they're easier to handle if you have trouble with heavy
weights. If you can handle a heavier weight, then a folding boot scooter is a great idea for a trip of any
kind. With either boot scooter, it's a good idea to visit a dealer and heft the scooter or the various
parts. Then, you're better prepared to make an informed decision.
Where can you drive a mobility scooter?
Are mobility scooters allowed on roads and motorways?
Mobility scooters of any kind are prohibited on roads and motorways. Class 3 scooters are allowed on carriageways with a speed limit of 50 mph or less, and must keep their speed under 8 mph. On dual carriageways, Class 3 scooters must display a flashing amber light. All scooters and other such vehicles for disabled persons are limited to 4 mph on all other allowable paths. The driver must engage a second speed limiter for the time spent on the pavement, bridleway, footpath, or other such path. When driving at night, scooters must not only display the flashing amber light but also lamps and reflectors.
Are mobility scooters allowed on the pavement?
Yes, all mobility scooters are allowed on pavement. While on pavement, they are limited to 4 mph.
Do I need insurance for a mobility scooter?
No, you do not need insurance for a mobility scooter in the United Kingdom. Despite not needing insurance, it is probably a good idea for you to have it, particularly if ever you get into an accident of any sort. Also, as long as your scooter is registered as a Class 3 transport, you don't have to pay tax on it either. You will need to ask the person from whom you procure your scooter whether it qualifies as a Class 3 transport.
Most of the time, your new scooter will already be registered with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). If it is not registered, then you must fill out Form V55/4 or V55/5. The No. 4 form is for new scooters, and the No. 5 form is for used scooters.
Life with a mobility scooter
Mobility scooters & public transport
Can you take a mobility scooter on the plane?
All scooters can be brought onto planes if there is a spot available for them. Most Class 3 scooters are too large for a plane, but Class 2 carriages will usually fit. The same is true for boot scooters.
Are mobility scooters allowed on trains?
When it comes to trains, most companies will let you board with your mobility scooter. There are normally limits in place, typically 300kg (inclusive of your weight). It is a good idea for scooter users to contact the applicable rail operator before travelling.
Are mobility scooters allowed in shops?
Scooters are allowed in shops if the proprietors of such establishments allow them and there is sufficient room for the scooter to move freely through the shop without creating a hazard. Class 2 mobility scooters are more likely to be allowed than Class 3 scooters. Still, it's wise to call the shop in question before going there to see if your scooter will fit.
Which mobility scooter should you buy?
In many cases, as long as the scooter you want to buy conforms to the regulations, any scooter will provide suitable transportation. Of
course, your personal preference plays a part, and practical considerations are important too. For example, if
you plan to use your scooter a lot between charging times, then you will likely need a larger battery. That
answers the common question of, "Can you upgrade mobility scooter batteries for greater range?" The only issue
is whether your scooter can have its battery changed. If you plan on upgrading the battery, then you should
check the owner's manual to see if it's possible on that scooter.
If you plan to travel by carriageway, you will need a Class 3 scooter. If not, you might still want a Class 3 scooter for its more stable platform. In other cases, a Class 2 scooter would suffice. If you plan to travel, you should consider a boot scooter. It might also be a good idea to have both a Class 3 scooter for general use and a boot scooter for travel.
No matter which scooter you buy, be sure to check the reliability records of any models in which you are interested. Test drive each scooter too. If you buy a folding boot scooter, be sure it's one you can lift by yourself. If you buy a dismantling scooter, be sure you understand the assembly instructions. Putting together a scooter incorrectly is not only unsafe, but it may also damage the scooter.
Most scooters have a rating from the manufacturer regarding how big of a kerb they can negotiate safely. Consult that specification, and never drive off a kerb that is bigger. Generally, it's best to search out a dropped kerb even if you must drive several hundred metres outside your desired path. Most dropped kerbs are also safer than merely driving off a regular kerb because dropped kerbs are usually near traffic signals, zebras, and signs.