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Mobility Scooters:
expert advice and information

When you first buy or hire a mobility scooter, there’s a lot to consider - from the rules of the road to using public transport. So we’ve created this easy-to-use page. Here you’ll find free, impartial advice and information on a range of mobility scooter topics.

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More about Fish Insurance

Fish Insurance is one of the UK’s biggest disability and independent living insurance providers, trusted with insuring over 80,000 customers. For over 40 years, we’ve provided insurance for people with pre-existing medical conditions, disabilities, or mobility issues – including cover for manual and powered wheelchairs and in-home equipment.

We are specialists in providing cover for mobility scooters. We offer protection against damages, theft and personal accidents.

With a team of friendly, knowledgeable and specially trained staff, you can be reassured that we go the extra mile. Whether that’s by giving you specifically designed policies or expertise on current industry issues.

Expert advice and guidance

We know owning a mobility scooter can improve your quality of life if you’re living with a disability or mobility issue. It gives you freedom by keeping you independent. We believe that’s worth protecting properly.

That’s why we’re giving you all the information you need to know about mobility scooters, in one place.

Find articles on mobility scooters and the law, as well as impartial advice on the best mobility scooters to buy. Plus, we’ll share tips on using public transport and taking mobility scooters abroad.

We’ll keep this page updated, so you can stay up-to-date with the latest topics and discussions.

Simply scroll down to find out more.

Powered Wheelchair Image

Our guide to staying safe on your mobility scooter

Mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs can provide a huge amount of freedom and independence to many older people as well as those with disabilities or mobility issues. They can help you to get out and about easily, access shops and services, and visit friends and family.

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It’s important to remember that mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs are powerful, often heavy vehicles which can cause damage and become involved in accidents if the rules of the road are not followed properly. If you ride a mobility scooter, you are responsible for your own and for other people’s safety.

There are several different types of mobility scooter available that all have different rules and regulations surrounding their use. Different speed limits apply to different types, while only some can be taken on public transport. Whether you ride on the pavement, footpath or road, you must always follow the highway code.

The rules and guidelines can be confusing as they differ so much for different types of vehicle.

We’ve put together the following guide to help you choose the right equipment and to help you use and enjoy it safely.

You can download our FREE Mobility Scooter guide here!

Mobility Scooters and the law

Mobility scooters and the law: what you need to know

You’ve bought yourself a brand new mobility scooter, and you can’t wait to take it for a drive... now’s the time to find out what’s legal and what’s not, before you start driving. From the rules of the road, to getting your scooter registered, we’ve put together a round-up of the law you need to know if you’re living with a disability or mobility issue.

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Classification of mobility scooters

There are three different categories for invalid carriages (wheelchairs and mobility scooters). Manual wheelchairs fall into Class 1, while mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs fall into two categories:

Class 2 – these invalid carriages have a maximum speed of 4mph and can only be used on pavements (except when there isn’t one!)

Class 3 – these are the only invalid carriages that can be ridden on the road. They have a maximum speed of 4mph when on the pavement, and a speed limit of 6-8mph when driving on the road

If you own a Class 3 mobility scooter, it will also need to have the features mentioned below. If it doesn’t, you could be stopped by the police.

  • a maximum weight of 150kg and width of 0.85 metres
  • a device that can limit your speed to 4mph, whilst having the ability to drive at a maximum speed of 8mph
  • efficient brakes
  • lights at the front and rear
  • reflectors
  • direction indicators that can act as a hazard warning signal
  • an audible horn
  • a rear view mirror
  • an amber flashing light when driving on a dual carriageway

The classification of your mobility scooter will influence its features, such as tyres and motor, as well as affecting your ability to travel on public transport. Most forms of transport can only accommodate to Class 2 mobility scooters, as they are lightweight and easier to move in smaller spaces. Find out about the restrictions and rules when taking your mobility scooter on public transport here.

The Highway Code

Mobility scooters are exempt from the Road Traffic Act and as an owner you don’t need a licence to drive one. However, for owners of Class 3 mobility scooters, there is a Highway Code to follow.

On pavements

When driving on pavements, the pedestrian is king, so be mindful of what they are doing or where they are walking. And be considerate to other pavement users, especially those with hearing or visual impairments.

You should always use pavements when available, as they are much safer than roads. If there’s no pavement, travel with care and make sure it’s safe for you to join traffic.

As mentioned, you should not drive faster than 4mph on any pavements, and you should reduce your speed if the pedestrian area isn’t big enough or pedestrians can’t move out of your way.

When you need to move off the pavement, make sure you take extra care – be vigilant, always try to use low kerbs and don’t attempt to drive off a kerb that is higher than is recommended for your mobility scooter.

For peace of mind when driving on pavements, we offer Public Liability cover as part of our Mobility Scooter Insurance. Just click here to find out more.

On the road

When driving on the road, other vehicles take priority. Usually, they will be driving faster than you so always take care, as the maximum speed you can drive is 8mph.

You must always drive in the direction of traffic.

When using your mobility scooter’s lights, indicators and horn, you should follow the same rules that apply to other vehicles on the road. Always use your lights at night.

At road junctions, it’s important you take care and watch out for other vehicles’ movements. You can read more about the rules of turning at junctions at Gov.uk

Paying tax and registering your mobility scooter

Even though you may be travelling on the road, you don’t need to pay any vehicle tax for your mobility scooter.

If you own a Class 2 model you don’t need to register your mobility scooter either. But if you drive a Class 3 mobility scooter, you will need to get it registered. Just fill out the DVLA’s registration form at Gov.uk and you’re closer to getting on the road.

For more information, check out Mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs: the rules at Gov.uk

Top tips for mobility scooter maintenance

Top tips for mobility scooter maintenance

For your mobility scooter to remain in good working condition routine upkeep is a must. Many mobility scooter owners make simple mistakes, such as forgetting to charge batteries or check tyres, which can often lead to costly problems. This article will give you some tips to help you avoid any hiccups.

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Common problems you’ll want to avoid

Here are some of the most common problems that you could run into if you neglect the maintenance of your scooter.

Flat batteries

Whether you’re regularly using your mobility scooter or just having a break from driving, if you don’t charge the battery frequently you will risk it becoming flat. This could be a pricey set back for your bank balance, with some replacement batteries costing up to £200!

Damaged gears

Most mobility scooters have a freewheel function, which allows it to be pushed around gently, as well as a drive mode. Forgetting to switch between gears when trying to set off could lead to damaged gears.

Steering problems

Using handlebars to hold carrier bags or adding any extra weight to your handlebar could land you in a spot of bother. Not only will get in your way, but they will make it difficult to turn. This could affect how your tyres or steering function. Instead look out for mobility scooter accessories for baggage.

5 ways of maintaining your mobility scooter

Below are 5 simple ways you can take care of your mobility scooter, to steer clear of any problems. Doing so will play a significant part in how efficiently your mobility scooter runs.

Regularly charge your battery

Battery size will depend on the size of your mobility scooter. This will impact how far you can travel and how often your battery needs to be charged. On average, scooters need 8-10 hours of charge. It’s important for you to regularly do this to keep your mobility scooter running smoothly, but it’s just as vital that you don’t overcharge and damage it.

It may sound obvious, but make sure to use the correct charger, too, as this could cause issues with connections. Keeping on top of how often you charge your mobility scooter battery will improve its reliability and longevity.

Check your tyres

It’s expected that your tyres will be exposed to general wear and tear, but inspecting them regularly will keep you safe when driving.

Look out for punctures when you’re out and about. If you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to get your mobility scooter serviced – where a professional can change your tyres if needs be.

There are different types of mobility scooter tyres, all with varying durability, strength, and levels of tread. You should carefully choose your tyres depending on what terrain you drive on and the distance you travel.

Cleaning and storing your scooter

After a drive in adverse weather, cleaning your mobility scooter straight away can work wonders. Washing off dirt and dust will help it to run efficiently and prevent rust building up. Try to avoid driving through puddles or wet areas, as any bits of dirt or grit that get stuck could possibly damage parts of your motor.

Storing your mobility scooter in a safe, clean and dry environment will also benefit its endurance and performance.

Invest in weather protection

Mobility scooter accessories, such as waterproof covers, will protect your scooter, helping to keep rain and dust off which could damage the seats or cause rusting.

Generally, mobility scooter batteries don’t run well in cold weather, so during winter it’s best to make allowances.

Don’t forget to get your scooter serviced

Most mobility experts will suggest that you get your mobility scooter serviced once a year. Trustworthy services will carry out numerous performance tests, including a full battery drop test to give you a reading of your batteries health. Any tinkering could cost you up to £90 – but when it comes to taking care of your mobility scooter, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Travelling on public transport with a mobility scooter

Travelling on public transport with a mobility scooter

If you’re heading somewhere by road, rail or air travel, and taking your mobility scooter with you, you’ll need to get clued up on the different travel requirements. With so many shapes and sizes of mobility scooters, we know this can be a headache, but planning ahead can make things run smoothly.

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Catching the train

Travelling by public transport with a mobility scooter can be a challenge. Most train operating companies will do their best to accommodate your needs, even though they aren’t required to by law.

Each company will have its own set of rules and criteria that your mobility scooter should meet before it can be carried on board. So we’d advise contacting the company you’ll be travelling with at least 24 hours before your journey. When you call, you’ll be asked for details of your scooter so that the train company can make sure you fit the criteria for travel.

For a summary of train operating companies and their requirements, visit Nationalrail.co.uk. Or Research Institute for Consumer Affairs, Rica, has a useful report on Mobility scooters and trains – simply click here to view.

Travelling by tram

Like trains, by law tram companies do not have to carry mobility scooters. But if your mobility scooter meets the set requirements, they will accommodate your needs.

Some tram operators across the country have implemented their own code of conduct for travelling with a mobility scooter. These are variations on the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) bus schemes, which we talk about below. Other operators do not have formal rules in place.

Tram networks that allow mobility scooters:
Blackpool (Tramway) Yes
Croydon (Tramlink) Yes
Manchester (Metrolink) Yes
Midlands (Midland Metro) Yes
Nottingham (NET) Yes
Sheffield (Supertram) Yes

Does your local tram network have a permit scheme?
Blackpool (Tramway) Yes
Croydon (Tramlink) No
Manchester (Metrolink) Yes
Midlands (Midland Metro) No
Nottingham (NET) No
Sheffield (Supertram) Yes

If your local tram service requires you to travel with a permit, make sure to contact them ahead of your journey. When applying for your permit, not only will they ask you questions to see if your scooter fits their criteria, they should offer you training and an assessment. This is to see if you can use your scooter safely when travelling by tram. If you can’t demonstrate this, you won’t get your permit.

Whether the tram network in your area does or doesn’t follow a code, it’ll be a good idea to contact them just to make sure your journey is smooth sailing.

We’ll keep this article updated if any other UK tram networks become mobility scooter accessible.

Getting a taxi

Many taxis (specifically black cabs) will accommodate to lightweight, small mobility scooters. If you drive a small, lightweight scooter, then taxi drivers are not allowed turn you away, they must welcome your custom and charge no extra for travelling with a mobility scooter.

Black cabs should have some aids for those travelling with mobility scooters, such as a ramp, swivel seat and large coloured grab handles. If your mobility scooter is portable by dismantling or folding, then it could fit into the boot of the taxi, too.

There are also private taxi services that will specially accommodate you if you are living with a disability.

Riding the bus

If you’re planning to travel by bus, then it’s the low floor buses you’ll want to hail. They make getting on and off much easier when using your mobility scooter – if it fits the required criteria.

Only Class 2 mobility scooters can be taken on buses, as they have a maximum speed of up to 4mph and can only be driven on pavements.

Class 3 mobility scooters cannot be taken on buses. Find more about the different classifications of mobility scooters at Gov.uk.

Your mobility scooter must also be no more than 60cm wide and 100cm long, with a turning radius of no more than 120cm.

Before you travel, you’ll need to apply for a permit scheme from your local bus company. These have been introduced by the Confederation for Passenger Transport (CPT) to be used across the UK, and by Transport for London (TFL) in the capital. Like trams, the bus company should offer training and an assessment to make sure you can use your scooter safely when you travel. If you don’t pass their assessment, you won’t be able to get a permit.

Head to Rica.org.uk to find out which bus companies are signed up the CPT scheme.

When you get your permit it’ll be the perfect size to fit in your wallet so you can easily show it to the bus driver. You should also be able to use your permit when travelling on other bus operators.

Flying with a mobility scooter

Just like the other forms of transport we’ve mentioned, many airlines and airports are equipped for your mobility scooter. They will also have their own criteria and restrictions to follow, so at least 48 hours before you fly, speak to the airline about your requirements.

If you need any support at the airport, whether that’s help when you’re arriving, checking-in or getting around the airport, there should be someone to help you.

How to buy the right mobility scooter

How to buy the right mobility scooter

If you’re looking to buy a mobility scooter, you might be wondering where to begin. With different sizes, models and categories, finding the right mobility scooter for your individual needs can be challenging. But don’t let that intimidate you, as this handy how-to guide will help you make an informed choice.

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Mobility scooters can play an important part in your day-to-day routine if you’re living with a disability or mobility issue. So, it’s essential that you feel comfortable and supported when using any equipment you buy.

What to ask yourself before you start looking

With such an important decision, it’s best not to rush things. Before you start shopping around, you should take some time to think about what you need your mobility scooter for. Here are a few questions to ask yourself...

When and where will you be using your mobility scooter?

The first thing you’ll want to think about is how you’ll be using your mobility scooter. For running errands locally, you’ll need a scooter that drives well on pavements. If you’re looking to make longer journeys, where you need to use the road, you’ll have to buy a Class 3 mobility scooter - yet these cannot be taken on public transport. You can learn more about the different classes in ‘mobility scooters and the law’

The class you choose will influence many aspects of the mobility scooter you buy, including the size, battery life and type of tyres.

Does your scooter need to be portable?

If you’ll be travelling on public transport with your mobility scooter, you’ll need to consider buying a scooter that can be easily dismantled or folded. You also need to consider whether you’ll need an adaptable ramp.

The type of transport you’ll be using will be a huge factor in choosing the right scooter for you. If you want your mobility scooter to fit in the boot of your car, you’ll need to purchase a scooter that is designed to be dismantled for storing. If you’ll be using public transport often, you’ll want to have your scooter’s weight and size in mind so you can easily lift the scooter – we suggest buying a Class 2 model.

Before you buy, why not get a head start on the rules for taking mobility scooters on public transport? Or, if you’re thinking of taking your mobility scooter abroad, you can find everything you need to know here.

Will your disability or physical features affect how you use your scooter?

Depending on your disability, you’ll want to buy a scooter that you can easily get on and off, as well as one that accommodates your height and weight.

Here are a few features you should look for:

  • Good suspension
  • A rotating seat
  • Adjustable arm, back and footrests
  • An easy to reach tiller (steering column)

A good idea would be to make a note of your weight and height? This is because mobility scooters have different maximum weight limits and seat widths. It’s important to keep to these limits, as it will affect the validation of your scooter’s warranty and the life of the motor.

Consider the design of your mobility scooter

The mobility scooters that you’ll be shopping around for will either have 3 or 4 wheels. This slight difference can affect how the scooter can be used.

Feature comparison for 3 & 4 wheel mobility scooters
3 Wheel 4 Wheel
Manoeuvrability Good - easy to manoeuvre with small turning circle Can be difficult, particularly in narrow spaces
Stability & Durability OK Good - ideal for uneven terrains
Indoor Use Yes Depends on size of mobility scooter
Outdoor use Yes Yes
Max. user weight Lower maximum user weight (below 20st) Heavier maximum user weight (+ 20st)
Easy to transport Most can be folded or broken down Some can be broken down. Ramp may need adding
Max. travel range Approx. 10 miles 10 miles +

Test and try different mobility scooters

One of the most important things you can do before buying your mobility scooter is take it for a test drive.

Practicing using the mobility scooter’s features will help to familiarise yourself with how the scooter handles and performs, as well as testing your reactions when on a pavement or the road.

You can test drive scooters at a number of places:

For more advice when buying your first mobility scooter, Rica.org.uk offers a useful guide.

Hiring a mobility scooter at home and on holiday

Hiring a mobility scooter at home and on holiday

Hiring a mobility scooter could be a great idea if you’re looking to try before you buy, or if you want to avoid the hassle of taking mobility equipment on holiday. So we’ve put together useful tips and handy information to help answer some of the questions you may have about hiring a mobility scooter in the UK or abroad.

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Should I hire or buy a mobility scooter?

There are benefits to both hiring and buying mobility scooters. So to give you a clear picture before you make a decision, here’s a quick rundown of the advantages of each option.

Benefits of buying
  • The overall cost of buying could be lower than paying to hire a mobility scooter over a long period
  • You’ll have a wider range of makes and models available to you
  • When you own a mobility scooter, you can customize it to suit your individual needs for your disability
  • Buying a scooter gives you more flexibility for where and when you use your mobility scooter
Advantages of hiring
  • If you don’t know how long you’ll need a mobility scooter for, hiring would be the most suitable option
  • You won’t have to pay a large one-off cost, which could save you money
  • Hire companies should offer you a fully serviced mobility scooter
  • Hiring for a short period allows you to test drive different sizes and shapes of mobility scooters before you purchase
  • If you are not happy with the scooter, you have the flexibility of replacing it

Where can I hire a mobility scooter?

There are many mobility companies across the country where you can hire a mobility scooter, including Mobility Giant, Mobility Hire and Concord Mobility.

Before you hire a mobility scooter, it’s a good idea to check the company can deliver it to your home or if you need to pay a deposit before hiring. Plus, you should find out whether or not you would be responsible for maintenance or repairs.

When hiring, the company should offer guidance and instruction on how to use the mobility scooter properly before you drive off.

The UK’s leading car scheme for disabled people, Motability, also offers mobility scooters to hire if you’re receiving a disability living allowance (DLA) or personal independence payment (PIP).

Find out more information about the not-for-profit scheme at Which.co.uk

Another charity that helps those living with disabilities is Shopmobility. The scheme can lease mobility scooters for use around shopping centres and city centres. It’s best to head to the Shopmobility website to find out about fees and guidelines as these will vary for each scheme.

Can I hire a mobility scooter abroad?

If you’re going on holiday, taking your mobility scooter with you could be a challenge. Hiring a mobility scooter when you’re out there could be a practical solution. Whether you need a scooter for the whole of your trip or just a few hours of the day, hiring could make traveling abroad much easier and help you make the most out of your holiday destination.

Outside of the UK, most countries in Europe, and many popular tourist destinations further afield, such as the USA, Canada and Australia, will offer mobility equipment for you to hire.

There are specialist companies that will cater to you, including Mobility Equipment Hire UK, who can deliver a mobility scooter to you when you arrive at your holiday destination.

You can also organise to hire a mobility scooter through a travel agent. They may be able to offer it as part of a holiday package or give you advice on how to hire through an independent company.

Here a few things you’ll want to keep in mind when arranging to hire a mobility scooter:

  • Can the mobility scooter be delivered to the airport or your accommodation?
  • What are the roads and pavements like at your destination? Check for cobbled and narrow streets
  • What are the driving regulations in different countries? Your hire company should advise you on this before you travel
  • What are your insurance options? Ask the rental company to check what you are covered for

And like buying a mobility scooter, looking for the cheapest deal isn’t always the best option, as there will be many things to consider – from your weight and height to using different forms of transport abroad.

Useful links:

http://www.disabledtraveladvice.co.uk/hiring-mobility-scooters-wheelchairs.html
http://www.disabilityholidaysguide.com/service-pages/mobility-scooter-hire.aspx
http://www.which.co.uk/reviews/mobility-scooters/article/hiring-a-mobility-scooter-and-motability

Paying tax and registering your mobility scooter

Even though you may be travelling on the road, you don’t need to pay any vehicle tax for your mobility scooter.

If you own a Class 2 model you don’t need to register your mobility scooter either. But if you drive a Class 3 mobility scooter, you will need to get it registered. Just fill out the DVLA’s registration form at Gov.uk and you’re closer to getting on the road.

For more information, check out Mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs: the rules at Gov.uk

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