Mobility scooter laws for road users

By: Philippa Harrington, On: 29 May 2020

Mobility scooters are a life-changing support for people struggling with mobility issues in the UK. They can be the difference between making it out of the house and not, giving everyone an equal opportunity to live a relatively normal life. But the rules around mobility scooters can be confusing, particularly when it comes to driving them on the road. Here is a comprehensive guide to the rules around riding mobility scooters on roads in the UK.

Can I go on the road with a mobility scooter?

Mobility scooters are allowed on roads in the UK provided they meet certain requirements, though it should be said that in general, mobility scooters should be ridden on pavements except where this isn’t possible or practical.

To ride a mobility scooter on the road, it must be classed by the DVLA as a ‘class 3 invalid carriage’. These mobility scooters have a maximum speed of 4km when off-road but can accelerate up to 8km when driven on road. Mobility scooters which are driven on the road must also have front and rear lights and indicators and an effective braking system, though most road-worthy models will also feature a horn and a rear-view mirror.


Is there a Highway Code for mobility scooters?

Yes, to ride a mobility scooter on the road you must have read and be knowledgeable of the Highway Code for mobility scooter users. This includes reading and following road signs and traffic lights, using the scooter’s lights and indicators when appropriate, and manoeuvring around other road users in a safe and practical way.


Do you need to register a mobility scooter with the DVLA?

Yes, all class 3 vehicles must be registered with the DVLA before they can be driven on the road. You will need to acquire and display a tax disc on your vehicle before you can take it on the road legally. Applications to register both new and used mobility scooters for road use are free of charge and can be obtained from the DVLA.


Do you need to take a test to drive a mobility scooter on the road?

You do not have to pass a test before using a mobility scooter, although it is your responsibility to ensure you know the Highway Code and can safely control your mobility scooter before you take it on the road.

Do I need a vision test before driving a mobility scooter on the road?

You will not be required to take a vision test before you can take your mobility scooter out on the road, however, it is still your duty to make sure that you are safe to drive on the road. If you are involved in a collision and your eyesight is deemed to have contributed to the accident, you could be liable to pay compensation.

Before taking your scooter on the road, you should be able to read a car’s number plate from a distance of 40 feet. Additionally, if you usually wear glasses to see clearly, you should wear these at all times while using your mobility scooter on the road.


Do you need insurance to drive a mobility scooter on the road?

You are not legally required to take out insurance before driving your mobility scooter on the road; however, it is still recommended to take out insurance before driving a mobility scooter on the road in case accidents do occur. Fish Insurance offer a choice of three levels of cover on their mobility scooter insurance. 


Insure your scooter


What is the speed limit for a mobility scooter on the road?

Mobility scooters on the road should not exceed 8 mph, which is usually the maximum speed of the scooter. Because this is usually far under the speed limit for other vehicles, extra care must be taken when travelling on busy roads using a mobility scooter.


Can you take a mobility scooter on motorways or dual carriageways?

No, mobility scooters are never permitted for use on either motorways or dual carriageways in which the speed limit exceeds 50 mph. On dual carriageways with lower speed limits, mobility scooters may be used but only with a flashing amber beacon to increase visibility.


Can I use the cycle lane or bus lane in my mobility scooter?

While it might seem sensible to use the cycle lane as mobility scooters and bikes travel at similar speeds sometimes, it’s illegal to use the cycle lane while riding a mobility scooter on the road. Mobility scooters must also not be used in bus lanes.

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