Mobility scooters for road use
In legal terms, a mobility scooter or powered wheelchair is an 'invalid carriage'. Invalid carriages fall into three categories, or classes. A class 3 scooter or wheelchair can be used on the road. There are some legal requirements for class 3 vehicles.
Types of invalid carriages There are three types of invalid carriages:
Class 1 - manual wheelchairs, that is self-propelled or attendant-propelled, not powered
Class 2 - powered wheelchairs and scooters, for footway use only with a maximum speed of 4 miles per hour (mph) and a maximum unladen weight of 113.4 kilograms
Class 3 - powered wheelchairs and scooters, for use on roads/highways with a maximum speed of 8 mph and the facility to limit the maximum speed to 4 mph for use when travelling on footways, and with a maximum unladen weight of 150 kilograms.
You must register a class 3 vehicle with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).
Where class 3 vehicles can be used
You can use your class 3 scooter or wheelchair:
on footpaths, pavements, bridleways and pedestrian areas at a maximum speed of 4 mph
on most roads at a maximum speed of 8 mph
You must not used it on motorways, cycle lanes or in bus lanes.
You should avoid using it on dual carriageways with a speed limit of over 50 mph. If you do use your scooter or powered wheelchair on a dual carriageway, you must use an amber flashing light for visibility.
A class 3 vehicle is not legally defined as a motor vehicle. For this reason, the user is not required to have a driving licence or to take a test. You have to be at least 14 years old to drive a class 3 vehicle.
You must not use your scooter or wheelchair if you are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medication that may affect your driving ability. If you are in any doubt, consult your doctor.
A class 3 vehicle can only be used by a non-disabled person if that person is:
demonstrating a vehicle before sale
training a disabled user
taking the vehicle to or from a place for maintenance or repair
You do not have to pay Vehicle Excise Duty commonly called road tax but you do need to register your scooter of wheelchair with the DVLA and display a 'nil duty' tax disc. Registration plates are not needed for a class 3 vehicle
You do not have to take out insurance, although it is strongly recommended that you do.
The vehicle must have certain construction features, including:
a maximum unladen weight of 150 kilograms (330 pounds)
a maximum width of 0.85 metres (2 feet and 9 inches)
a device to limit its speed to 4 mph (6.4 kilometres per hour)
a maximum speed of 8 mph (12.8 kilometres per hour)
an efficient braking system
front and rear lights and reflectors
direction indicators which are able to operate as a hazard warning signal
an audible warning instrument (horn)
a rear view mirror
an amber flashing light if it is used on a dual carriageway
If these conditions are not met, you may be prosecuted by the police.
How to register and license a 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.
Invalid carriages do not need to provide evidence of Vehicle Excise Duty exemption when licensing in the disabled class. They are also exempt from paying the first registration fee.
To register and license a class 3 invalid carriage, you need to complete form V55/5 for used vehicles, or V55/4 for new vehicles. Send the completed form, together with evidence of the vehicle's age (if available) and documentation confirming the keeper's name and address to your nearest DVLA local office.
You cannot license your class 3 invalid carriage at a Post Office branch or by using the Electronic Vehicle Licensing service.
Once your invalid carriage is registered with DVLA, you should automatically be sent a 12-month tax disc directly from the DVLA before the expiry of your current tax disc.
Although it is not a legal requirement, an insurance policy is strongly advised. Suitable schemes are available to cover your personal safety, other people's safety and the value of the vehicle.