If you're unable to walk around or are recovering from an injury, perhaps you have considered a mobility scooter. These vehicles are a comfortable and efficient means of travelling and give you the freedom to go almost anywhere. Read on to learn about the rules that govern mobility scooters on the road, in the air, and on trains.
Mobility Scooters on the Road
Mobility Scooters and the Highway Code
Mobility scooters are now considered a type of vehicle and must follow specific rules. These vehicles are graded either class two or class 3. Class 2 scooters cannot be used on the road and are subject to a maximum speed of four mph. Class 3 scooters have a maximum speed of four mph off the road and eight mph on the road. Class 3 scooters can weigh 150 kilograms without a driver and must possess a width of not more than 0.85 meters. Class 3 mobility scooters must have an efficient braking system.
You can ride class 3 scooters on the road; these must be registered with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency [DVLA]. You must be at least 14 years of age to drive these mobility scooters. Class 3 mobility scooters are exempt from road tax because of the speed restriction of four mph on the pavement.
To register your class 3 mobility scooter, you will have to complete form V55/4 for a new scooter and V55/5 for a secondhand scooter.
While there are no legal requirements for eyesight, you must be able to read the registration number of the vehicle from a distance of 40 feet.
Driving Mobility Scooters on the Road
You cannot drive a class 3 mobility scooter on motorways, bus lanes, or cycle-only lanes. Do not take your mobility scooter onto dual carriageways that allow speed limits of more than 50mph. If at all you do, ensure that you have an amber light flashing.
Know how to use the vehicle's lights and indicators in accordance with the Highway Code. Travel in the direction of the traffic.
Class 2 scooters can be used on the roads only if there is no pavement for you to ride these vehicles.
Driving Mobility Scooters on the Pavement
These scooters cannot be used on cycle-only paths. You must not leave the scooter on a pavement where it may impede the movement of pedestrians and wheelchair users. Class 2 and class 3 scooters cannot be driven at speeds of more than 4mph on the pavement.
Mobility Scooters on Trains
You can take your mobility scooter on the train. The majority of the train operators allow you to do so; the terms may vary. For example, some may require that the scooter be transported dismantled. However, the disabled can safely travel by train.
It is worth remembering that you do not have a statutory right to take your mobility scooter on a train. You are allowed to do so at the discretion of the train operator. You must make it a point to read the passenger charter and accessibility policies of the rail service provider you wish to travel with.
An accessibility policy informs you about your rights when dealing with the rail company. You can learn about your legal rights here. The policy is a contract between the rail provider and you, and if you are found in contravention of any of the rules mentioned in the contract, you are liable for legal sanction.
The rules for accessibility followed by tail providers differ. If you're travelling over a long distance and will change trains and providers, you should be aware of the accessibility-related regulations put in place by the providers. Staying informed is the only way for you to ensure a pleasant train ride; any misinformation or lack of information could result in your train journey being interrupted. You may have to then take a taxi, and that's going to be very expensive.
Probable Reasons for Not Allowing Mobility Scooters on Trains
- Some trains may not have room for the safe storage of mobility scooters.
- The gap between the steps of the train and the platform may be too wide.
- The staff at a station may be engaged in other activities and unable to help with transporting the mobility scooter.
- During rush hours or at certain times of the year, it may not be feasible for the train operator to provide space for mobility scooters.
- The time taken to load and mobility scooters onto and from trains may inconvenience other passengers.
Size and Weight Limits
Most train operators will allow mobility scooters weighing up to 300 kg. This includes your weight. The scooter should measure less than 1.2m long. Some providers issue permits for travellers with mobility scooters. These permits will be purchased separately and are not a substitute for train tickets.
Train Companies and Mobility Scooters?
- Greater Anglia – Yes
- Arriva Trains – Yes
- C2c – Yes
- Cross Country – Yes
- Chiltern – Yes
- East Coast – Yes
- East Midlands – With a permit
- First Great Western – With a permit
- First Hull – Yes
- First Transpennine Express – With a permit
Mobility Scooters on Aircrafts
Your best chance of travelling with a mobility scooter by air is with a lightweight scooter. Aircrafts do not allow bulky mobility scooters.
You will have to inform the airline in advance about the make, size, weight, and model of the mobility scooter. The airline needs this information to ensure that the mobility scooter is not a fire risk. Keep the operational manual with you. The airlines may find it useful. Provide the airline with details on how to assemble and disassemble the mobility scooter.
You're allowed to carry two mobility items free. While airlines are liable for damage to mobility equipment, the amount is limited to around £1,300. You may consider insurance for your mobility scooter, when travelling.
You will likely be asked to remove the battery and accessories and keep them with you, while on a flight. Your best bet for getting the mobility scooter accepted on a flight is with Li-ion batteries of less than 300 watt-hour capacity.
Apart from the various rules and regulations that govern the use and transportation of mobility, you must do what it takes to stay safe when operating a mobility scooter outside. Take your scooter out only after you've gained confidence about maneuvering the vehicle safely. Maintain awareness about what's happening around you in order to contribute to the safety of pedestrians and travellers in vehicles. Turn off the scooter when stationary. Loose items can get caught in the accelerator lever. Practice going up and down slopes.
Mobility scooter maintenance and repairs are crucial in ensuring your safety on the road. You must check that plugs and wires are connected. No wires should remain exposed. The tires should be inflated to the correct pressure. Assembly mechanisms must be locked in place. The adjustable seat should be stably locked in place. The brakes must be in working order. The battery must be charged.