MOTORISTS and pedestrians often complain about mobility scooters (called invalid carriages by law) on the roads and pavements but what are the rules?

The following is official UK legislation as stated in the Highway Code under the Road Traffic Regulation Act and the Road Vehicle Lighting Regulations.

Are mobility scooters allowed on the road?

Pavements are safer than roads and should be used when available. You should give pedestrians priority and show consideration for other pavement users, particularly those with a hearing or visual impairment who may not be aware that you are there.

What is the speed limit on pavements?

Powered wheelchairs and scooters MUST NOT travel faster than 4 mph (6 km/h) on pavements or in pedestrian areas. You may need to reduce your speed to adjust to other pavement users who may not be able to move out of your way quickly enough or where the pavement is too narrow.

What is the speed limit on roads?

Class 3 mobility scooters are those with an upper speed limit of 8 mph (12 km/h) and are equipped to be used on the road as well as the pavement.

How can mobility scooters be driven on the roads?

When you are on the road you should obey the guidance and rules for other vehicles; when on the pavement you should follow the guidance and rules for pedestrians.

When on the road, Class 3 vehicles should travel in the direction of the traffic.

You MUST follow the same rules about using lights, indicators and horns as for other road vehicles, if your vehicle is fitted with them. At night, lights MUST be used.

Do any parking rules apply?

All normal parking restrictions should be observed. Your vehicle should not be left unattended if it causes an obstruction to other pedestrians - especially those in wheelchairs. Parking concessions provided under the Blue Badge scheme (see Further reading) will apply to those vehicles displaying a valid badge.

Your vehicle shouldn’t be left on a footpath or pedestrian area on its own if it gets in the way of other pedestrians, including wheelchair users and people with prams or pushchairs.

What about motorways and dual carriageways?

These vehicles MUST NOT be used on motorways (see Rule 253). On a dual carriageway where the speed limit exceeds 50 mph (80 km/h) they MUST have a flashing amber beacon.

Do mobility scooters have to be insured?

No. Insurance is not required for mobility scooters, but it is recommended. You do not need to pass a driving test to use a mobility scooter on the road or pavement.

Are there any eyesight restrictions on mobility scooter users?

There is no legal eyesight requirement to drive mobility scooters or powered wheelchairs.

Who can use mobility scooters?

You can only drive a mobility scooter or powered wheelchair if you:

have trouble walking because of an injury, physical disability or medical conditio

are demonstrating the vehicle before it’s sold

are training a disabled user

are taking the vehicle to or from maintenance or repair

Do mobility scooters need to be taxed?

You don’t have to pay vehicle tax for any mobility scooter or powered wheelchair, but you still need to register class 3 invalid carriages with the DVLA.

Is there an age limit for using mobility scooters?

You must be 14 or over to drive a class 3 invalid carriage.