If you are concerned about the laws on mobility scooters we provide guidance below, both on any insurance regulations and rules and also whether or not you are required to register your mobility scooter with the official authorities.
Insurance for Scooters
The Department for Transport in conjunction with the other relevant government body, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), has helpfully issued the official statement on the subject of whether you take out insurance on a mobility scooter:
“Although it is not a legal requirement, it is strongly advised to have insurance. Suitable schemes are not too expensive and are available to cover your personal safety, other people’s safety and the value of the vehicle.”
What is not immediately made clear in the statement is the great risk of being sued for third party liability should you be involved in an accident with another person or persons.
These accidents are happening increasingly and some people have almost been financially ruined a a result. This is why the subject of government intervention has been debated in the House of Commons in the United Kingdom.
Legislation to make some form of insurance law, looks increasingly likely. Mobility scooters are naturally ridden by people who need assistance with their getting around – therefore they are not in perfect health and this is likely to be deteriorating and getting worse. Therefore these people are liable to have slower reactions times and an increased probability of risks.
Even though insurance is not currently obligatory, we suggest that taking out adequate insurance is a very sensible option considering the risks you currently take when out in public.
For your own peace of mind, we strongly suggest you consider taking out insurance. Scooter insurance is increasingly inexpensive and we have helpful advice on how best to find the cheapest insurance quotation.
Registering Your Scooter
There is a lot of confusion over the issue of whether it is compulsory to have to register your mobility scooter with the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) or Department for Transport.
Scooters are used out in public, mostly on pavements but also to cross roads and they can be driven on roads. With a top speed of 8mph they clearly don’t pose a huge risk but they can certainly cause damage and injury.
Many people ask us if their scooters require taxing for the roads (road tax) or registering.
Once again, we have the official advice below from the Department for Transport and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). Note that they refer to a mobility scooter as an ‘invalid carriage’.
Do I Need to Register My Invalid Carriage?
Under the Use of Invalid Carriages on the Highways Regulations 1988 invalid carriages are separated into 3 categories:
Manual wheelchairs, i.e. self-propelled or attendant propelled, not electrically propelled. These are not required to be registered with DVLA.
Powered wheelchairs and scooters – intended for footway use only with a maximum speed of 4mph and an unladen weight not exceeding 113.4kgs. These are not required to be registered with DVLA.
Mechanically propelled invalid carriages that are constructed or adapted to be capable of exceeding a speed of 4mph but incapable of exceeding a speed of 8mph on the level under its own power (generally powered wheelchairs and other outdoor vehicles including scooters intended for use on roads/highways). They must be fitted with a device capable of limiting the maximum speed to 4mph for use when travelling on footways. The unladen weight must not exceed 150kgs. These are required to be registered with DVLA.
How Do I Apply to Register My Class 3 Invalid Carriage?
Class 3 invalid carriages need to be registered for road use, be licensed in the “disabled” taxation class and display a nil duty tax disc. Unlike ordinary cars, invalid carriages do not need to provide evidence of VED exemption when licensing in the disabled class. Also, they are exempt from paying the first registration fee and are not required to display registration plates.
In order to register and license a class 3 invalid carriage the user will need to complete form V55/5 (for used vehicles) or V55/4 (for new vehicles) – and take or send it to their nearest DVLA local office (addresses can be found on the website at www.direct.gov.uk/motoring or in the V100 information leaflet which is available from post offices that issue tax discs or by telephoning 0870 243 0444 – you will need to quote your postcode).
Evidence of the vehicle’s age (if available) will need to be submitted with the application together with documentation confirming the keeper’s name and address.
Do I Need a Driving License to be Able to Drive a Mobility Scooter?
No, you will not need to pass a driving test (in order to get a license). Unlike cars, there is no government requirement to hold a licence which means that anybody can ride a mobility scooter as long as they obey the laws of the road, otherwise known as the Highway Code.
What Are the Road Rules for Mobility Scooters?
For the exact rules and regulations concerning driving mobility scooters on public roads we refer you to the official advice as contained here: users of mobility scooters and road rules and regulations.
Below we summarize the most important road rules for electric mobility scooters.
- When driving on pavements you must show consideration to pedestrians by giving them priority.
- You must not exceed the speed of 4 mph when on pavements.
- Class three mobility scooters may use the roads.
- Class two mobility scooters may only use the road in order to cross it, the exception being when there is no pavement available.
- Where possible you should always travel in the direction of the traffic.
- If driving at night it is obligatory too have lights on your scooter.
- Although it is not law, it is highly advised that you make yourself more visible to other road users by wearing a reflective jacket and fitting reflective strips to your scooter.
- Be extra careful at junctions and on roundabouts.
- Because scooters can only travel on roads at a maximum speed of 8 mph, you need to allow sufficient time to pull out at crossroads, allowing for the much greater speed of oncoming vehicles.
- You may wish to use the pavements, if possible, at these particularly dangerous points on the road.
- Class three mobility scooters must switch down to the maximum speed of 4 mph when driving on pavements.
- All normal parking signs and restrictions should be observed.
- You can apply for parking concessions under the Blue Badge scheme, this must be displayed on your scooter if you have one.
- Mobility scooters are not allowed to be driven on motorways.
- They are allowed to be driven on dual carriageways as long as they have a flashing amber coloured beacon.
Road Tax – Do I Need to Buy a Tax Disc for My Mobility Scooter?
The quick answer is no, you do not need to pay road tax.
The Vehicle Excise and Registration Act of 1994 requires that all mechanically propelled vehicles used on a public road must be licensed, registered and must publicly display a tax disc.
Fortunately the Department of Transport has issued an exemption for mobility scooters given the fact they are considered and classed as class 2 invalid carriages which are for limited road use.
A Class 3 vehicle is not legally defined as a motor vehicle 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’) or mandatory insurance requirements. However, they need to be registered with DVLA and display a ‘nil duty’ tax disc.
The law also states that a Class 3 vehicle can only be used by a disabled person aged 14 or over, or by an able-bodied person who is demonstrating a vehicle before sale, training a disabled user or taking the vehicle to or from a place for maintenance or repair.
The mobility scooter vehicle must have certain construction features otherwise you risk prosecution by the police, these include:
- Maximum unladen weight of 150 kg (330 lbs);
- Maximum width of 0.85 metres (2’9″);
- Device to limit its speed to 6.4 km/h (4 mph);
- Maximum speed of 12.8 km/h (8 mph);
- An efficient braking system;
- Front and rear lights and reflectors, and direction indicator which are able to operate as a hazard warning signal;
- Audible warning instrument (horn);
- Rear view mirror;
- Amber flashing light if a 4-wheeled vehicle is used on a dual carriageway.