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Editor's Blog   |  123 Comments  |  

Mobility Scooters: Legally Not Vehicles

An interesting case written about by solicitor Salome Verrell highlights a legal fog around mobility scooters.

She was asked to represent a disabled man who had been charged with drink-driving on his mobility scooter. He was breathalysed, and had actually pleaded guilty by the time she was involved with his case.

The magistrates presiding were concerned, because the normal penalty applied in cases of drink-driving is an automatic disqualification from driving. For an able-bodied motorist, this is certainly inconvenient, but seems appropriate. For someone who is severely disabled, and dependent on a mobility scooter in order to get around, a ban on driving it would be much more Draconian, rather like depriving the drunk car driver of the use of his legs.


A clear case of discrimination

Salome Verrell saw this as a clear and discriminatory example of unfairness towards someone with a disability, and she sought support under Equalities and Human Rights legislation in order to challenge the situation. To her surprise, she could not find anything to help, but she did discover legislation which said that not only should her client not be disqualified for the offence, but that it was unlawful to prosecute him under s4 of the Road Traffic Act (RTA) 1988 which is the source of the offence of driving a mechanically propelled vehicle whilst unfit through drink.


Mobility scooters not classified as motor vehicles

She found that, in law, a mobility scooter is an invalid carriage – and this excludes it from traditional drink driving rules. A related law states that an invalid carriage which meets the prescribed weight and speed limitation requirements, is not considered as a motor-vehicle under the RTA 1988, and that therefore s.1-4 does not apply. This means that the offence of drink-driving cannot apply, and that it is inappropriate for somebody on a mobility scooter to be stopped and breathalysed.

The case against her client was dropped, much to his delight, of course. Research suggests that such cases in the UK are incredibly rare – she was able to find only four. In two of them, the person pleaded guilty, and in the other two, the charges were withdrawn. In one of the “guilty” cases, the court imposed a driving ban – except for the mobility scooter, but it would appear that there was no proper lawful basis for this decision.


Should there be compulsory training and insurance?

This case highlights an interesting legal quirk, but also should make us think about other aspects of the growing use of mobility scooters. Whether they are limited to 4 mph for pavement use or 8 mph for road-going, they are capable of causing some damage either to other people in the vicinity or to their user. Currently, there is no requirement for training or insurance, although reputable suppliers will do their best to make sure that purchasers are competent; and road-going, or Class III, scooters have to be registered. There have been cases of intrepid scooter riders taking them on to busy roads where they may be legally allowed to travel, but the level of danger involved makes it reckless, to say the least.

I would be interested to know what you think: should mobility scooters be subject to similar rules as cars – i.e., pass a test, hold third-party insurance, don’t drink and drive? Or is it more appropriate to regard them as an essential mobility aid which should be available to anyone who needs it, and put the onus on other pavement or road users to steer well clear?

Join those who have added comments below!

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Further reading and resources

The IL guide to mobility scooters can be found here

We have tips on safe use of scooters here

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123 Replies to “Mobility Scooters: Legally Not Vehicles”

    AvatarCarl Brookes says:

    However, there is another offence of being drunk in charge of a carriage which applies to any vehicle – bicycle, horse and cart:
    A disabled pensioner has been convicted of riding his mobility scooter while over the drink-drive limit, under an obscure Victorian law dating back almost 140 years.

    Peter Bright, 63, was pulled over by police while riding home along an A road after a drinking session with friends.

    But because mobility scooters are not covered by current drink-drive laws, Bright had to be prosecuted under a ‘carriage law’ dating from the 19th century.

    Mr Bright told magistrates: ‘I only had three cans of beer with some friends and didn’t think there was anything wrong with that at all.

    ‘I might have been over the limit but I wasn’t drunk.’

    The defendant, who was representing himself in court, admitted the charge of driving a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road while unfit to drive through drink.

    But he told the court he thought he would be safe driving under the influence because both his ‘senile’ father and young grandchild were capable of controlling it.

    He said: ‘My father had a buggy like mine and he was quite senile and we used to get calls from the police to go and pick him up all the time, so I didn’t think it would be a problem.

    “My five-year-old granddaughter could drive it.’

    The 1872 Licensing Act was originally brought in to crack down on anyone caught drunk in charge of a carriage, steam engine, a horse or a cow.

    Richard Paterson, prosecuting, told the court that Bright’s mobility scooter would have to be classed as a carriage.

    He said: ‘The police were called in relation to Mr Bright driving his mobility scooter along the A140 and there were some concerns about the way that it was being driven.

    ‘He was stopped by the police, breathalysed and arrested as a result.’

    ‘The offence falls outside the normal drink drive laws and that leaves us with a very old provision from 1872, which is part of the Licensing Act.’

    Mobility scooter
    Old law: Mobility scooters are classed as a ‘carriage’ under the 1872 Licensing Act

    The court heard that Bright had 122mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood – 42mg more than the legal limit of 80mg – when he was pulled over on the A140 at Long Stratton, Norfolk, in May.

    Chair of the Bench, Geoff Evans, said that being over the limit would have affected Bright’s ability to drive the scooter and that he may have become a hazard to himself and other people.

    He was fined £50 plus a £15 victim surcharge.

    Most of the 1872 Licensing Act has been superseded but some of it remains in force.

    The law still creates an offence of being drunk in public and of being drunk in charge of a carriage – since reinterpreted to include bicycles.

    The crime has a maximum penalty of £200 or 51 weeks in prison.

    Simon Nicholls, a Norwich solicitor, said: ‘The vehicle he was driving did not fall within the definition of a motor vehicle under the Road Traffic Act, and therefore they could not prosecute him as if it was a motor vehicle.

    ‘They had to prosecute him for being drunk in charge of a powered carriage, which was a law made before they had road motor vehicles.

    ‘It’s definitely not the first time it has been used but it isn’t very common’

    AvatarFrances says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Carl – an interesting account, and a reminder that it’s not a good idea to take to the road in any sort of conveyance when you have been drinking…
    Best wishes,

    AvatarAndrew says:

    Carl, your comments are a fascinating read but I have one question. You quote a Norwich solicitor saying the vehicle (I.e. mobility scooter) “did not fall within the definition of a motor vehicle under the RTA.” I agree it doesn’t come within the definition of a “motor car” in section 185(1).
    However, section 4(1) relating to driving when unfit through drink is in respect of driving a “mechanically propelled vehicle.”
    Section 185(1) defines an “invalid carriage” as a “mechanically propelled vehicle” subject to a certain weight restriction and being specifically designed and constructed for use by a person with a disability. So a mobility scooter would be a “mechanically propelled vehicle.”
    It would therefore appear to me that someone driving a mobility scooter could be charged with drink driving. I must have missed something and would appreciate you letting me know where my logic is wrong.

    AvatarWally Chapman says:

    Why pick on the disabled why do people not walk to the left on pavements the same as we drive on the roads and why is it legal for a person to jaywalk with a mobile phone to their ear or ear sets taking their concentration away with music pedestrians cause more accidents than the disabled we only get the abuse

    AvatarFrances says:

    Hi Alice
    I have also shared this in our Facebook group.
    Best wishes,

    AvatarAlice says:

    Hi Frances,
    Thank you very much!

    AvatarJim Wallace says:

    I bought a used mobility scooter for the wife. As it is a class 3 (8mph capable) l need to register it with DVLA.
    So l had a look into what l need to do.

    Well l was blown away. It seems that there is no application form for registration of class 3 invalid carriages.
    I need to fill in a v55/5. That form is for a motor vehicle. I really do not have a clue how to complete this form. I do not doubt that others have encountered the same minefield. Hence why so many of these mobility scooters are running around with no registration plates.

    Therefore l have no option other than leave it unregistered.
    Why does a form not exist specifically for class 3 mobility scooters?

    AvatarFrances says:

    Hello Jim
    Scooters are normally registered by the manufacturer or dealer when they are new, so you shouldn’t have to go through that form filling. Although you are quite right that it’s the same as for a car, which means it’s pretty complicated!
    As the person you bought the scooter from obviously didn’t give you relevant ownership documents, you can use form V62 to ask the DVLA for a new logbook. But that costs £25, so first, you could perhaps try going back to the seller and ask if they have any paperwork.
    Mobility scooters don’t have to display numberplates and the road tax is nil, so the whole registration business seems a bit crazy.
    Update 29th August There is no cost for registering a mobility scooter with DVLA

    AvatarDavid E says: is an address for the official guide for filling out said form for mobility scooters (inf210 is for new scooters).

    It may be out of date, but hopefully it helps.

    AvatarGerry Marshall says:

    I wanted a better and Larger Mobility scooter, I found a reasonably priced scooter and rang up the company, I happened to mention that at some point ( when this pandemic allows) that I would be taking the to France as we holiday there.
    I was informed that the scooter is a class 3 scooter but if I signed a waiver the scooter would be unlocked meaning that it would reach speeds of 15 mph and not the standard 8 mph as the law states a class 3 scooter is maximised as.
    When the scooter arrived I was given paperwork stating the scooter is a class 3 scooter with a maximum speed of 8 mph, I took the scooter out on the road and almost instantly with the simple flick of a switch I was reading 15 mph, at this point the scooter was really travelling fast. I got my wife to follow me in the car and check what speed I was really doing, the car registered 17 mph…
    I am now worried in case this scooter is illegal to use, the scooter does not have a Tortoise and Hare switch to control speed, it has a flick switch 1,2 or 3 which is very easily flicked to he wrong speed and considering how quick the speed is increased via the throttle 15 mph is quickly achieved, is this legal in the UK, and as a matter of course the selling company will not divulge how to disable the 15 mph mode, they say that once it is chosen it is locked at that mode.

    AvatarFrances says:

    Hello Gerry
    The law about mobility scooters in the UK is pretty clear – the maximum speed is 8mph on the road, 4mph on pavements. I believe you could use the greater speed on privately-owned land.
    I think you will have to be super careful about your speed selector – could you have the switch modified, so you don’t accidentally choose the wrong speed?
    Doesn’t sound as though the company you bought it from is being particularly responsible…

    AvatarGerry Marshall says:

    They really do not care, When I spoke to them they just laughed, I rang the Police and they said it was not legal as far as they were concerned and that that this company was sailing close to the wind, I was warned to be extra careful when selecting my speed otherwise I would be definitely be prosecuted, they also said that this speed is frowned upon even on private land as it is known that if someone is hit by a scooter at this speed it would be deadly, they also say that the class of the mobility scooter will have changed as soon as the scooter was locked at 15 mph, it then changes from class 3 to motor scooter.
    I informed the police that I received a registration as a new mobility scooter from the company stating that the scooter is class 3 and has a maximum speed of 8 mph, the police says this is a false declaration and also misleading, especially if, as required, the scooter is registered with the DVLA as this form is to be provided when registration takes place.

    AvatarJim Wallace says:

    I cannot understand why you did what you did.
    Sounds like you are one of those guys who has nothing better to do than complain about things.
    Then when there is nothing to complain about…. You go out your way to create something to complain about.

    The company told you the UK limit is 8mph. Unless you use it on private land. You told them that you wanted to use it in France where the limit is 15mph. They supplied it as you requested. Then you went crying to the police.
    Honestly, you need to get a life.

    There is a 3 way switch on those scooters 4, 8 & 15mph. Only use the “3” setting off road. I assume that you bought one “without” a Speedo on it.

    I am qualified in electronics. You can simply disconnect the 3rd wire behind the switch. That will leave the selection as 4 or 8mph. Oh wait….. You don’t want to do that. As what would you then have to complain about?

    Seriously, take it to your local mobility shop & they will do it for you. Next time, don’t tell companies lies only so you can report them.

    AvatarDavid E says:

    What an odd argument you are picking. You asked for something and are complaining because you got what you asked for?

    Your argument is similar to saying that cars should be limited to 70 mph in the UK, since it is not your fault if you go faster.

    My own scooter has a switch under the seat that enables/disables “3rd gear”. I’m sure a local dealer could fit one for you at minimal cost.

    AvatarJohn says:

    I believe there has to be some type of official training and insurance for these to be on the pavements. My reasons to this is that not all people who use these are complying with the highway code. Now I walk approx 4 mph and where I live scooters mostly old males are going past me quite fast, I have also been hit by them because I didn’t move out of the way the last one had me unable to walk very far due to an injury to the tendon so for a while I wasn’t able to work. Now the person hasn’t got insurance and without that he would face the full amount of the claim which has gone in. This is why official training with cert and insurance is a must I even have insurance for my bike just in case.

    AvatarSusan Bird says:

    Agreed John. I was hit yesterday by a mobility scooter rider in a shopping mall. She almost knocked me off my feet. I am at home resting and recovering. Some of these riders are totally incompetent and a complete liability . All “invalid carriages” should be registered and insured and the drivers made to pass a test before being allowed in public places.

    AvatarCOLIN says:


    AvatarAmanda says:

    as a disabled lady i used a mobility scooter for many years as my house was not suitable for an electric wheelchair from social services and i could not afford one myself , mobility scooters are a cheaper option and mine was the difference between me relying on carers or being fully independent. personally i feel road scooters should have the ability to go faster so they are safer on the roads as they can keep up with traffic and stand some chance of avoiding collisions. As these scooters are not allowed on public transport they should have the ability to get their driver to their destination in a timely manor especially when it is cold and wet!

    i also feel that all scooters should have a pavement limit of 3mph as at 4mph most people walking seem to think i am speeding and often get told by public to slow down! as pavement scooters are allowed on public transport this should not really affect those using pavement only scooter to travel longer distances .

    i do feel a simple test should be part of the process, as many who have never driven a car get scooters and are part of the reason all scooter drivers get a bad reputation.

    i do not feel disabled people should have to buy insurance though i see it important to have it as many disabled are on limited income and while bicycles often exceed the speed of scooters do not need insurance i feel it unfair to expect lower speed things to need it. more accidents are caused by bicycles than scooters!

    i also feel the laws on sizing for things like toilets, transport access doorways etc which was made over 100 years ago desperately needs bringing into this century as they were made for manual wheelchairs when people were a lot smaller/thinner than they are today and electric mobility aids were not even a contemplation

    AvatarFrances says:

    Thank you, Amanda, for many good points well made!

    Best wishes, Frances

    AvatarJim Wallace says:

    If they increased the speed of these scooters to enable them to keep up with traffic that would result in many accidents. The suspension, braking system ect are not designed for high speeds. Nor are the riders trained or skilled to travel at those speeds.

    But there is a solution if you want more speed. You can buy one that can do 50mph or more.
    Ofcourse those are considered to be motor vehicles and you would need to sit a motorbike test (or car test if more than 2 wheels) in order to ride one (rightly so). Insurance would also be compulsory, but road tax is nil for electric vehicles.
    Please understand that we cannot simply allow scooters with “unlimited” speed on the roads driven by unqualified, unskilled people. I am a car driver & understand the chaos such scooters would cause.

    As for people being “fatter” than they were 100yrs ago. I would say try going on a diet. I accept that medical reasons may be responsible for a tiny minority of overweight people, but most of the time it’s due to little or no exercise & over eating.
    I am a retired registered nurse so have seen many people’s health fail drematically due to their weight. I have seen people so fat that they need a double bed & need to have a window removed to leave the house as they cannot fit through the door. Sadly such people die long before their time.

    I also do not think that shops & public buildings should be altered in order to make them more accessable to fat people.
    Although l have a disabled wife. I am tired of hearing disabled people moaning because everyone does not bend over backwards for them.

    AvatarLorraine Salt-Pulford says:

    Having used scooters and powered wheelchairs for about 20 years, in my experience it is ok to use pavements at 4mph and under. This is about the pace of a quick walk. You can slow down the vehicle to suit the surrounding areas as sometimes the road is dangerous and sometimes, due to lack of kerbs we have little choice either way. I believe now they are so popular that users should be given a simple test and certificate before being allowed to purchase

    AvatarTom D'Arcy says:

    As a disabled person, (+ as I age a “mobility scooter” would be a very convenient option) I do not agree with their use on any pavement where people walk.

    I consider myself to be “somewhat of an expert ” as until the age 41 I was unimpeded. I am now 59.

    What’s more I want more legislation to ensure only those who require such vehicles are allowed them. Stricter laws. Safety first for all.

    AvatarJack Bennett says:

    You think they should not be used where people walk … what a short sighted and dare i say selfish attitude. Ive been unable to walk more than yards for decades – should i just sit quietly inside with no option to go anywhere = I might add that from the mobility scooter users perspective its the able-bodied are the danger , perhaps they need training in walking and basic awareness . I frequently have avoid idiotic behaviour from a minority of walkers , meandering about obliviously , drunks , out of control children etc . In nearly 30 years I have never hurt anyone in my mobility scooter …

    AvatarRussell Walton says:

    These two wheeled scooters are not safe for use on public land. The brakes on these cannot be made adequate to stop these scooters quickly enough to do an emergency stop.

    AvatarSuzanne Shapcott-Hall says:

    I have a daughter with global developmental delay and as such does not have the capacity to use an electric scooter. I am also disabled. I understand that we can not use a two seater disabled scooter in the UK but surely this is discrimination under the Equalities Act 2010? Surely Reasonable Adjustments should be put in place to allow my daughter and I to have the same freedom to use an electric scooter in the same way our peers could?

    AvatarFrances says:

    Hello Suzanne
    I really understand your frustration about this. You aren’t alone – in fact, one of our Facebook group members launched a Government petition last year to get the law changed. It obviously didn’t succeed, but I will see if I can find out whether there is anything else going on in that direction.
    One of the big stumbling blocks, however, is size. British pavements, and roads for that matter, tend to be quite a bit narrower than in countries such as the US and Spain where two seater scooters can be used. If you look at the problems that already exist in balancing the conflicting needs of different groups in town centres, and then imagine mobility scooters that are twice as wide, you can see how problematic it would be.
    Tandem models, with one seat behind the other, would be less of an issue – but the Department for Transport has no plans at the moment to make those legal either, I’m afraid.
    Best wishes,

    I was unaware of the Petition. If it is still open I would like to sign it. Do you have an URL for the petition?

    AvatarFrances says:

    I am waiting to hear, Clive. I’ll add the link here when I do, if it’s still open.

    AvatarRichard says:

    You can check to see if any petition is still open by going to the government website for e-petitions. I have read the majority of posts concerning these scooters, I agree with some of the comments and totally disagree with others. Certainly in relation as to who should be allowed to use them, any person wishing to use a mobility scooter should first of all have some form of a medical to assess their fitness to use one. Most certainly eyesight should be a legal requirement. My late mother used a mobility scooter for some years not through choice but through necessity. However, in later years with failing eyesight, I decided that she was no longer safe after watching what she was doing. At that point I decided to take the key off of her and ban her from using it. Although this did not go down very well, I had the full support of my father. There is no way on earth that my mother would have got through any eyesight test. I would also suggest that all users must be registered and registered disabled all done through the GP or qualified assessors. There are far too many people that use these scooters as a convenience not through need. I know of people that are more than able to walk long distances and do all of their shopping without the need for a mobility scooter, but because they have one, they use them for the convenience. I am very sorry, but it is these people that get the genuine a bad name. There must be very strict rules and actual laws brought in so as to regulate the ownership and use of these often dangerous machines. I see no issue with them being on the footpaths providing they are used at a sensible speed and the person is registered disabled. Having in mind that some of these scooters are the size of a motorcycle, again, size matters and the question needs to be asked, do they really need such huge machines?. Keep up the excellent work and being a voice for the disabled.

    AvatarFrances says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful contribution, Richard. It must have been very hard to take the decision about your mother’s mobility scooter, but so much better than leaving her to have an accident with the likelihood of serious consequences, for her or other people.
    The law does actually say that mobility scooters can only be used by people who have a relevant impairment – it probably needs more active enforcement. However, traffic wardens and police officers are understandably cautious about challenging users as to whether they are really disabled… Some sort of registration could overcome this, though at the cost of introducing more bureaucracy.

    AvatarFrances says:

    I’m afraid the petition is no longer open, Clive – it didn’t get enough support to gather momentum.

    AvatarJim Wallace says:

    Many thanks for posting that information. I had no idea that the 2 seater scooters were banned in UK.
    Only yesterday l was looking at them on eBay as my 5yr old grandson likes to come out with me. He is getting a little big to share a seat. Or perhaps that’s also banned. However l have seen many kids riding on their parents/grandparents scooters & never heard of any procecutions.

    I have also never heard of police setting up speed traps specifically to catch disabled people. They may pull kids running riot on a mobility scooter, but can’t see them persecuting disabled adults. The media would eat up a story like that

    AvatarCOLIN says:


    AvatarDavid says:

    Apologies as this is off at a tangent. My father has a 8mph scooter but he always feels he is holding up traffic if he is on the road. It looks like electric scooters will be legalised for road use in the UK with a top speed of 15mph yet unless I am mistaken no requirement to wear a helmet and no requirement for the scooter to have lights, indicators or horn. In other words at night a silent invisible killer. Mobility scooters are far more visible, stable and for road use require lights indicators and a horn. Unfair?

    AvatarFrances says:

    Hello David
    Maybe slightly tangential, but I think you have raised an interesting issue! Perhaps a significant difference is that the e-scooters which may now be allowed on British roads are provided by hire companies, and come with insurance. There isn’t a requirement to insure a mobility scooter, a subject which produces strong opinions on both sides.
    I have included this in my weekly newsletter, which goes out on Wednesday – hopefully, some more people will feel inspired to share their thoughts.
    Best wishes,

    AvatarDavid P says:

    My electric cycle has a maximum speed limit of 15mph, I do not have to wear a helmet or indeed take out insurance.
    I am not allowed to ride on pavements. The 8mph mobility scooters are subject to the same conditions except the maximum speed. Why cannot the speed limit on the scooters not be raised to 15mph the same as the e-cycles?
    Then not so many incidents of holding up impatient motorists.

    AvatarJim Wallace says:

    Agree with you 100% David.
    My mobility scooter has 3 speed settings. The 3rd being 15mph.
    I always leave it on that setting, even on pavements.
    Although l travel less than the permitted 4mph on pavements, l leave it on that setting as l need to apply the brakes manually on the 8 & 15mph settings.
    The 4mph setting has an automatic brake that comes on with a vengeance when l release the throttle. I prefer manual brakes as emergency brakes are only needed in an emergency. I am a car driver so like to be fully in control.
    If in my later years my reflexes do not allow me to safely manage the brakes manually then l will use the automatic brakes or stop using it all together.

    If cops ever pull me to enquire about my speed then l will pretend to be deaf, senile & any thing else that makes communication difficult for them.
    I very much doubt they will be charging me with anything as the cps would be unlikely to take it to trial. If they did then l will invite the media to cover the trial.

    I am an experienced motorbike, car & 7.5t lorry driver. Now retired so have decades of driving experience on road, off road & in the most severe weather conditions.
    I only use my scooter when l need to take the morphine. I also have a big ass Nissan Navara Adventura truck.
    Therefore the mobility scooter is like a child’s toy to me.

    My scooter was designed to travel @ 15mph so the braking system, suspension, chassis are all adequate & safe. I even adjusted my brakes for maximum efficiency.

    Avatarmike says:

    Hi ive just got a 15mph mobility scooter but trying to get insurance so many say 4 or 8 only did you find one ?

    AvatarCOLIN says:


    AvatarCain Mark says:

    Whether we ride in the usual vehicle or mobility vehicle drinking and driving should be avoided as it leads to many consequences. If you are using a mobility vehicle to find a loophole that’s not right. This thing needs to be discussed.
    Keep sharing such articles that increase awareness among peoples.

    AvatarRussell Walton says:

    If you are caught driving a mobility scooter over the drink drive limit you will loose your car driving license.

    AvatarJim Wallace says:

    No you won’t. I just read the article by the solicitor. The charges were dismissed as a mobility scooter is NOT a motor vehicle.
    You may be charged with other offences if you are too intoxicated to control the scooter. But they cannot touch your driving licence

    AvatarGiovanna says:

    The law changes always has and it always will just as 200 years slavery was legal this will also change and people will realize that mobility scooter are the only way for some to get around

    AvatarJim Wallace says:

    LOL, l wouldn’t go as far as comparing mobility scooter laws to slavery laws.

    However, every electronic product is getting smarter & smarter at an alarming rate. So in another 200 years our mobility scooters will be much like the driverless cars.
    They will also be able to think for themselves & hold a conversation with their disabled passengers.
    But then we have another problem. Demonstrations against the forced labour of our intelligent mobility scooters (slavery).

    Perhaps that will all happen much sooner than 200 years. If you brought someone forward in time from 1920, they would be amazed at the technological advances in only 100 years.

    Our grandchildren may very well be working on mars

    AvatarRobert Hilton says:

    I thought the law in England was, “Drunk in charge of a wheeled carriage.” This could include a perambulator, but maybe I’m out of date. Clearly mobility scooter users need to use due caution and have proper instruction from the start. If this happens then it should be unnecessary to impose licensing and other legislation that would be likely to cause restrictions outweighing any benefit. Let responsible use make legislation unnecessary. This is of interest to me as, at 80 years old, I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to cycle to work. A capable scooter may become an attractive proposition. My wife is in favour, I think because she plans to borrow it, but she’ll be better off with a portable scooter to put in the car.

    AvatarRobert says:

    It is a complicated subject, my views on it changed when I stopped driving my car due to a loss of reflexes and switched to a mobility scooter. I purchased the titan model from tzora because I was looking for something stable that felt like a car. I understand how annoying they can be on the road but it is also important for drivers to understand its our only form of transportation.

    AvatarDavid says:

    I agree i also got mine from tzora i got the titan and was the best purchase i ever made

    AvatarTerry says:

    Thank you for publishing this article, it has helped in our sons fight against our local social services who tried to insist that it is illegal for him to drink and drive a powered wheelchair. Instead, they are now ‘quoting’ the terms and conditions of use that the Health Board made him sign for his wheelchair; “”Powered chairs should not be driven under the influence of alcohol…”. We are challenging this under the Equality Act 2010 and await their response.

    AvatarFrances says:

    I will be interested to hear how you get on, Terry.
    Whether technically subject to drink drive laws or not, it is important to act responsibly when in control of a scooter or power chair (or bicycle for that matter) as you can see from comments here a number of people who have been injured or had damage caused by someone using a mobility aid recklessly.

    AvatarJim Wallace says:

    Er.. did l read that correctly?

    You are encouraging your son to drive a mobility scooter whilst intoxicated?
    You condone that?

    I have read about the injuries sustained by people who have been run down by mobility scooters. Some sustained broken legs.

    Although they cannot give you a driving ban, l feel that the law should be changed to include not only a ban but a very healthy fine.

    AvatarRaul Predovic says:

    Actually, I am querying about mobility scooters. My question is, with so many options available in the market, it’s so hard to choose one. Can you suggest me which one is better for me? I hope you have a great knowledge of It. Thanks and keep sharing 🙂

    AvatarFrances says:

    Hello Raul
    There are a lot of scooters to choose from, so you really need to think about your requirements in order to make a good choice.
    We have information about the different sorts of scooters available and what sort of activity they may be suitable for here:
    Once you have narrowed down the choice, it is a good idea to try before you buy. A good mobility supplier with a range of different scooters should be able to help here.
    Best wishes,

    Avatardoug hewitt says:

    Third party insurance should be compulsory for a mobility scooter ,,Just think you can hit a car door .£1000 damage ,,,or black out ? depending on disability of course ,
    I do think a government training scheme should apply . as for drink driving in one. that should apply to ,,you can get charged for being drunk in charge of a pushbike?

    AvatarFrances says:

    Hi Doug
    It’s hard to argue against the wisdom of both third-party insurance and training, when you think about the possible consequences of a mishap.
    And with increasing numbers of scooter users, such incidents are only likely to become more frequent.
    Best wishes,

    Avatardavid bleathman says:

    2 days ago i had an accident. i was on my scooter and a drunk scooter rider who was not disabled (was riding his dads scooter) hit me. my damage was minimal but the point he has no insurance!

    AvatarFrances says:

    You raise a valid point about insurance, David – even if it is compulsory for mobility scooter users, people who are using a scooter unlawfully would not be covered… As with a car or any other vehicle.

    Avatardavid bleathman says:

    frances at the moment though insurance is cheap in the uk from £30 a year! In fact i am thinking to get it as it gets you help when you break down! BUT i want erveryone to be able to afford it! if diabled people cannot afford insurance you are sentencing them to life in prison at home!

    AvatarLorraine Salt-Pulford says:

    All electric powered wheelchairs and scooters should have third party insurance but the insurance itself needs clarifying and maybe updating. Annual service should be compulsory on all electronic vehicles and this means thinking outside the box as more and more vehicles are being used by non-disabled and even children

    AvatarKelvin harvey says:

    In the case of someone drunk on a scooter, this should be treated in the same way as anyone else, basically drunk and disorderly in a public place and not under any road traffic offences.
    However there are some on these scooters, often male, but not always of a certain age and dare I say it weight that can appear to be disrespectful to other pedestrians etc, resulting in genuine users through disability visible or otherwise being treated unfairly or not given the appropriate consideration especially when trying to navigate a busy street or crossing the road.

    Before I was issued with my powered wheelchair I had to be tested to see if I was competent to operate it, maneuvering in and through doorways, go fast go slow, drive towards a wall and stop just short of it . Then I had to have a test of my mental capability, you know the ones remember a name and address until the end of the session, say the months of the year backwards and numerous of things. Only after all of that was clear was I issued with the chair for indoor use only, I had to be tested later for my ability to use it out doors, going up and down curbs, being able to drive a certain length in a straight line, turn around and come back.
    Are local authorities more interested in the safety of a loan chair than people who sell them for a living?
    I have found this discussion very interesting as I long ago used a mobility scooter, which I bought second hand, luckily I did have a driving licence so did not find the using of it too difficult and was aware of my surroundings.
    I must admit though that I have seen people about who look as if they do need some training.

    AvatarRobin Fordham says:

    Hi whilst I understand that Electric Scooters are banned from our roads and pavements can i be prosecuted for drink driving and lose my driving licence for being over legal limit (can we assume that the scooters top speed is not over 15mph)

    AvatarFrances says:

    Hello Robin
    If we are talking about mobility scooters, they are legally limited to 8 mph on roads, and 4 mph on pavements. The legal position as far as drink-driving goes is that mobility scooter users are not subject to the same rules as drivers of motor vehicles. That doesn’t mean that they should behave irresponsibly.
    You can read the rules on the website (external link will open in a new browser window)
    Best wishes,

    AvatarA says:

    I am a retired Solicitor. I know that the mobility aid used by my disabled wife is illegal! It is a “mongrel”. The seating part is the rear off a mobility scooter that had battery and powered front wheel in the front unit. A three wheeler aquasoothe.
    The front was replaced with a ” wheel chair tractor”. The two are connected by a specially fabricated bracket.
    It is not a mobility scooter as it has a top speed of 15 mph. It is not a battery powered tricycle as it does not have pedals.
    It has three speeds, 4mph, 8 mph and its top speed. It has no brakes on the rear wheels but does have twin disc brakes on the front wheel that are independent so stops very efficiently.
    At Naidex at Birmingham this year I enquired it they were legal if attached to a normal wheelchair I was informed that so long as on the pavement and in low gear they were within the law. If off road or on a cycle path they were treated as a powered cycle. I am sure that this is not the real legal position.
    Why is she using this. Simple. It is much lighter than a normal mobility scooter. It is therefore much easier to get into and out of my car. It has a much greater range than a normal 8 mph scooter. It is much more fun for her to use when off road. It freewheels downhill like a cycle.
    I admit that when I tested it the first time on a cul de sac with a steep incline it showed I was going over 20 mph.
    It is only minimally longer that a normal scooter. It being a three wheeler makes it is more maneuverable and caused no problems in our local supermarkets.
    I have tried to get third party insurance as though it was a powered bike but because it has no back brakes no chance!
    I know electric vehicles are being subject to law updates and keep my fingers crossed that the review will legalise the use of this mobility aid. Time will tell. My wife has a full car and motorcycle license but I worry that one day a police officer might take an unwarranted interest but keep my fingers crossed. I can say that my wife only ever uses it on pavements or in shops in low gear so less than 4mph.

    AvatarIain says:

    Motor Vehicle and a Mechanical Powered Vehicle are not the same. Definition in law is critical e.g. a Private Hire Vehicle must a Motor Vehicle and booked whilst Hackney Carriage can be a pedal Rickshaw that is hailed. Mobility Scooters as a vehicle are in the same catagory as the latest car from Tesla etc. If a class 3 road going scooter is a cop out for getting pissed then does anyone in a battery powered car have the same cop out? Conflicting interpretation of Motor Vehicle/Vehicle Construction and Use Regulations must be considered. Also if statute fails the Tort of Negligence (sue small claims) may still exist.

    AvatarElizabeth Tamar says:

    My son got knocked off his motorbike after a drunk old man hit him whilst he was riding his mobility scooter, not only did the old man cause 500 ponds worth of damage and addmited it was his fault to the police and ambulance he is refusing to pay for the damage he caused, so guess we will have to go to court

    AvatarFrances says:

    Hello Elizabeth
    I’m sorry to hear about your son’s experience, which highlights the need for anyone who is in charge of any form of transport – whether or not it’s considered a vehicle – to act responsibly and with consideration for other road and pavement users.
    It does also strengthen the hand of those who argue for compulsory third-party insurance…
    Best wishes,

    AvatarJim Wallace says:

    If that drunk old man failed the breath test then his insurance will be void.
    Therefore you need to sue him in the small claims court.
    If he is on benefits then the court may very well allow him to pay any award at £1 a week. If he is not a UK citizen then you may as well forget it. The law can be very unfair to law abiding citizens. It’s designed to be lenient to criminals.

    AvatarNeil says:

    If legislation is created which Insists Mobility-Scooter users be similar to car drivers in that they need to pass a test and be insured, and that the scooter be subject to some kind of MOT, then I would say this;
    Now is the time that people who ride pedal bicycles should also need to pass a test, insure their bicycles, and more importantly, bicycles should be subjected to a yearly “MOT”.
    I have nothing against riders of bicycles, but from first hand experience, being involved in a severe collision accident between my leg and a bicycle rider (the bicycle had no working brakes and a bald rear tyre) I am now out of work. This is due to now having fibromyalgia and PTSD and severe physical injury, I am now having to use a mobility scooter (now I am left with only one leg – all be it severely crippled, the other was amputated at the upper-thigh).
    Hope I am not sleighted with my comments.

    AvatarFrances says:

    Thank you for coming to Independent Living to make your comment, Neil – I can promise you won’t get any verbal abuse here, as all comments are moderated!
    I’m really sorry to hear about your dreadful accident, and the long lasting effect it is having on your life. You make a good point about any form of transportation needing to be in roadworthy condition with a competent rider/driver.
    Thank you once again and best wishes,

    AvatarHazel Rutter says:

    Reading one article where a man lost his leg due to a scooter rider(I’m disabled, & use power wheelchair). I feel that now we all should have insurance whilst using our various disabled transport. I know the cost would be more than most could afford, but, having insurance, protect the

    AvatarJim Wallace says:

    Well said. I completely agree with you.
    I even think that the driving test is far too easy.

    I also think that after the age of 65 all drivers should be required to attend an annual medical in order to continue driving.

    I have seen many old people shuffle up to their cars at 2mph. No way their reflexes will work fast enough if a kid ran into the road. That’s the very reason some drive around at 20mph or less.

    Many don’t declare medical conditions.
    I declared my wife’s to the insurance company & that resulted in her premium being more than double what mine is.

    I am severely disabled and have been using mobility scooters for about 11 years now. I consider myself a very competent and safe driver/rider and frequently do journeys between towns of 20 miles or more round trip, using pavements, roads and promenades. My partner also uses a scooter which enables us to got out together.

    I have just discovered that our main Post Office in town has changed the previously ‘disabled access’ to a security system, (I presume), involving a sharp right angle entrance to a narrow doorway which is not possible to enter on a scooter of even powerchair I imagine. The other ‘main entrance’ is via a flight of steps, always has been, so no entry there either.

    How are they allowed to do this and block access to a quite large number of local disabled people. From outside I could not attract the attention of any PO employee to ask about this at the time, but seeing this I needed somewhere to vent!

    AvatarPeter Richardson says:

    Find the idiot who changed the doorway. sit him her. on a scooter and tell him to get on with it.

    AvatarSimon Picken says:

    I think mobility scooters must be subject to similar rules as cars. An accident is an accident… crime is a crime… no matter who did and from which kind of vehicle. There can be some rules which may make less punishment for disabled persons but they can’t be considered “not guilty” fully just because they are disabled.

    AvatarVal says:

    Legal clarification is needed for scooters. To use one AT ALL a Blue Badge should be compulsory. & should apply to power wheelchairs. Also insurance, lights, indicators and DECENT horn, pavement OR road should be mandatory. However, even road scooters are max 8mph, far slower than a car, & cars do NOT go on pavements. Most folks do not WANT to need a scooter. They are a vital mobility aid. A small number of non-disabled people do misuse them, fuelling scooter discrimination. While you can get a scooter using QUALIFYING benefits, most users buy their own at high cost (mine was £1,800 plus insurance). Unlike power chairs, scooter users are vilified & abused. Even small ones must pass tests by bus & train companies some ban them, unlike users of very large wheelchairs. I worked 47 yrs & in 4 months lost everything, including my health. Now living alone for the first time in my adult life, a scooter is a must. The public need to accept they have a responsibility to keep themselves safe, like I have a duty to be a careful scooter user. Users should not be consuming recreational substances before driving, but if you walk in front of a scooter because you are walking drunk down the street, that is your own fault. Some users of wheelchairs, power chairs & scooters may be on prescription medicines & should not drive if their judgement is impaired. I notice no one applies this to power wheelchairs, but as someone else already said, just because you are disabled it does not mean you are above the law if you hit someone or something.

    AvatarJim Wallace says:

    Yes l agree with you. But when l need to take my morphine l leave the car at home & take the mobility scooter as l know they cannot do a drug test on me.

    Having said that, l have been on that drug for years & my mental capacity is not impaired. But if l was in an accident in the car all that would matter to them was how much morphine was in my blood.

    I try to be as responsible as possible

    Avataradrian ayers says:

    hello I have just bought a 4mph mobility scooter (pavement use) as I live in a village that is all hills ..
    my problem is coming back from the pub ITS ALL UPHILL, I have always been law abiding and would not drink drive and gone to the trouble of buying a breathalizer so I will not drive if im over the limit in a morning.
    as the pub is my only form of social life, if I cannot drink I would be housebound im not talking blotto but 3 pints then drive back on the pavement, AM I LEGAL. I am disabled

    AvatarFrances says:

    Hello Adrian

    The law regarding mobility scooters seems quite clear, as far as drink-driving goes. We have advice here from solicitor Salome Verrell and barrister Kevin Byrne to the effect that they do not count as vehicles, so provided they are being driven by a disabled person as intended, that person should not be breathalysed or prosecuted for driving under the influence.

    However, I would add to that general advice that as a responsible citizen, nobody should be operating any equipment that could cause injury to themselves or others if they know that their judgement is impaired by alcohol. And third party insurance is probably a good idea.

    Best wishes,


    AvatarAnthony Parker says:

    Hello Frances if the driver tests positive on a breathylizer whilst driving a mobility scooter the charge would normally be drink drive but the charge can be changed to being drunk whilst in charge of a powered vehicle this Carrie’s a 12mth ban and a fine and is determined by the arresting officer better just to stay in the limit

    AvatarFrances says:

    Hi Anthony
    I definitely agree that the best strategy is to stay within the limit – slow reflexes and poor judgement can cause accidents on a mobility scooter, just as in a car.
    Best wishes,

    AvatarSusan Duff says:

    Hi, I have young grandchild aged 5 who likes to go out with nannie to the nearby park. I cannot walk so seat her between my knees on my class 3 and drive along the paths inside the woods and park to reach the swings. I insist that She wears a cycle helmet. No problem. We don’t travel along main road pedestrian pavements. But occasionally I would like to pick her up from nursery to help out. This would involve me driving her alongside the main rd on the pavement and cycle path. Not tried yet but is it illegal? After all some parents carry their child on cycles? I only ever drive at 4mph and never on the road! I would appreciate guidance. Ps I pay liability insurance.

    AvatarFrances says:

    Hello Susan

    Thank you for asking this question about mobility scooters – I am happy to clarify.

    Unfortunately, it is not the answer you are hoping for. You cannot legally carry another person on your mobility scooter, even a child. Incidentally, it is only permitted for cyclists to carry a child if their bike has been adapted for the purpose, i.e. by fitting a proper child seat.

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news!

    Best wishes,


    Here at Remap we do sometimes help people adapt their scooter or wheelchair to carry a baby or small child (our help is free of charge). Although it is technically illegal to carry a child, we’re not aware of any prosecutions and would rather help people do it safely if they are determined to take their child out with them. See an example here

    Avatardave mowvley says:

    i believe that all mobility scooters should be 3rd party
    insured to cover them on pavement or road, after all
    it only costs about 50 pounds. dave

    AvatarVal says:

    insurance costs vary dave, mine is over £100 a year. Also bear in mind, it is likely to be voided if you have consumed alcohol or otherwise have impaired your judgement by driving while under any substance that may affect your ability.

    AvatarLoraine says:

    I told a man in a mobility scooter that he can no longer bring it into my shop, after he damaged a shelf, moved a large coat rail and ripped a coat that was hanging on it, while narrowly missing other customers. He said he will sue me for discrimination. Can he do this?

    AvatarFrances says:

    Hello Loraine

    There is no absolute right for a mobility scooter driver to take it into any premises, irrespective of suitability. A number of supermarkets have banned individual scooter users from their stores, because they caused damage and/or posed a risk to other customers and members of staff.
    As a business, you have a duty to look at your premises, and make sure that you have made any reasonable adjustments necessary so that they are accessible to customers with a disability. So, for example, if you could rearrange the fitments in the store to make wider aisles and easier turning for wheelchair and scooter users, you should do that. If the constraints of the building make alterations like this too difficult or expensive, you don’t have to carry them out – the key phrase is “reasonable adjustments”.
    So – the scooter user doesn’t have an automatic right to go where they please, and they do have a duty to ensure that they are driving safely and giving priority to pedestrians. At the same time, the shop owner has a legal obligation to abide by the Equality Act 2010, and not disadvantage customers with a disability.
    If you aren’t sure about what you could and should do to make your premises accessible, you can read about access audits here:
    I hope this helps!

    Best wishes, Frances

    AvatarVal says:

    so, to me, if a disabled person does not have the same freedoms to ‘go where they like’, they are being discriminated against. The only way to end this is to ensure ALL new businesses starting up MUST provide adequate access & steer clear of premises that are unsuitable to adapt. The government ought to provide grants to assist smaller retailers to address this.

    AvatarHazel Rutter says:

    I quite understand with the above comments. Living in a small seaside/market town, there has been several new up take of existing shops. But although they alter the inside shop, non of them had made any of the one step or two, into a ramp. Yet a bank had altered their entry, but not a new hairdresser, plus others didn’t bother. There’s room outside the premises as well as inside, leaving the pavment clear.

    AvatarKevin Byrne says:

    I note the advice given above by Salome Verrell, solicitor. It is correct, but not in all circumstances.
    The governing provision is section 20(1) of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1971.
    That provides: “In the case of a vehicle which is an invalid carriage complying with the prescribed requirements and which is being used in accordance with the prescribed conditions ….(b).it shall be treated for the purposes of … The Road Traffic Act 1988……as not being a motor vehicle; and sections 1 to 4 ….[of the 1988 Act] shall not apply to it”
    Reference must then be made to the Use of Invalid Carriages on Highways Regulations 1988 to ascertain what are the conditions and requirements that apply.
    Regulation 4 sets out the conditions. The main ones are: that the vehicle must be used by a person falling within a class of persons for whose use it was constructed or adapted, being a person suffering from some physical defect or physical disability.
    The example given by the correspondent above of the lady who is not physically disabled and who has no physical defect does not satisfy that condition and is not complying with the 1970 Act or the 1988 regulations and could be tested for drugs in her system and prosecuted for drug driving if found to be over the limit.
    If the 12 year old in the example above was using a class 3 invalid carriage he would be contravening the condition which says he must be 14 and fall outside the protection of the 1970 Act.
    The requirements set out in regulations 7 to 14 must all be complied with too. So for example, by regulation 9 it must comply with lighting requirements. If it doesn’t it loses the protection afforded by the 1970 Act.
    We had a case at a Magistrates’ Court I worked at where the defendant drove his invalid carriage whilst drunk. He himself was physically disabled, but his passenger, carried on his lap was not. He was convicted of driving a motor vehicle whilst over the prescribed limit.
    It would appear these provisions have not been tested in the higher courts.
    What I relate is the advice I gave as an employed barrister in the Courts Service. I am now retired, but what is set out above is the advice I gave at the time the case was before the court. Anyone who finds themselves in contravention of Road Traffic legislation must obtain their own independent legal advice.

    AvatarGILES says:

    At Quingo we take the safety of both scooter users and those around them very seriously. We insist that before anyone can purchase one of our scooters that they take our ROSPA compliant driver check. If there is any question about an owner being safe and competent to drive a scooter we will not supply them one.
    The check is carried out when we provide our free home demonstration and test drives and then our engineers provide further tuition and more testing when they deliver and set up a scooter. We also actively encourage all owners to take out insurance cover for themselves and their scooter and offer cover at the time of purchase.

    AvatarFrances says:

    I am posting this on behalf of Frank Adams
    Many years ago, I was involved with others in producing a training pack for class three vehicles on behalf of Anne Frye at the Department of Transport, to coincide with the launch of the then new scooters and powerchairs. It was called “Be Safe at 8mph.” Although it attracted a lot of publicity, it never really took off! Maybe the department should review it and see if an updated version would be more successful.
    In addition, I am dismayed at the old chestnut of introducing a ‘test and licence’ for scooter users. The only way in my mind this would be equitable, is if the same directive was applied to cyclists. After all any person who is able, can get on a bike and wobble off down the street, without instruction and not even reading the highway code, especially the part that deals with pavement riding. Also I would add that insurance is not deemed important enough to be compulsory either for anyone using a bike.
    In my area the number of bike riders using the pavement and retail precincts without dismounting are a daily hazard, and often the bike rider is unaware of visible and invisible disabilities pavement users have, as generally they are very fit people.

    AvatarDouglas Campbell says:

    There is minimal hope of the Department for Transport doing anything as the Mobility Unit that Anne Frye so able headed was disbanded many years ago. The Department “mainstreamed” disability issues which means there is no one dealing with them centrally.

    “Get Mobile – Your guide to buying a scooter or powered wheelchair”, which I wrote and was published by Disability Rights UK with Motability sponsorship was last published in 2012 and there has been no attempt as far as I am aware to update this. It can be found at

    AvatarVal says:

    Frances I agree. I have a profound hearing loss & when walking down the street I cannot hear cyclists from behind. In my town great expense was used to create cycle lanes near footpaths and on roads and they have so far been totally ignored Equally when walking with my stick, I was once pushed to the ground whilst crossing the road by a burly lad running past. I was almost killed by a . Other passers by stopped the car and helped me up.Many parents these days also do not teach their children how to stay safe. they walk backwards, not looking where they are going, race round like lunatics or run so far ahead (or worse, behind) that their parents can’t control them or teach them safety or good manners. Fortunately most do.

    As you highlighted in your article, reputable retailers of scooters carry out a short road test and an eyesight test and if the purchaser fails, they do not get to buy the scooter.
    Where things fall down is when someone themselves or a family member buys a second hand scooter via eBay or the small ads. I agree that scooter users are in the main, responsible. It is just a few people who cause a problem.
    Enforcing a compulsory test would be very difficult I think.

    AvatarChris Cammiss says:

    Chris again.
    On holiday in Cyprus last year I stayed in one hotel and occasionally ate and/or drank in others and all of them allowed wheelchairs but banned scooters!
    What went on there I want to know?

    AvatarRachel Elding says:

    Here at TGA Mobility we take mobility scooter safety extremely seriously. We are a reputable supplier and do our utmost to ensure that every mobility scooter is suitable for the individual customer’s needs, ability and safety.

    In addition to our pre-sale competency checks we run various free safety assessment courses at our Head Office in Sudbury throughout the year, and we will be operating a safety test track at the forthcoming Mobility Roadshow. For the past two years we have raised awareness of safety through visibility with our national “ScootAndBeSeen” campaign, which has been promoted both on our website and through social media.

    TGA is a long-standing member of the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) who also provide a range of useful guides for scooter users including one of road safety “Get wise to using electric scooters and wheelchairs”.

    We believe it is vital that people can adequately control their mobility scooter, know how to perform all the possible manoeuvres and understand the rules of the road/pavement. The more help and information dealers can provide to their customers the better for all road users and pedestrians.

    Compulsory tests and insurance will limit the accessibility of mobility scooters for those people who rely on them for their freedom and independence. Increasing safety through education and awareness will continue to allow access for everyone.

    AvatarTony Newbolt says:

    Sometimes I think parents should require a license for their children running round supermarkets. On more than one occasion I have been driving a wheel chair at 3mph or lower and had kids jump in front of me. tear round the corner of an aisle with no consideration and I have been lucky not to have hit someone. The same goes for people walking and using their mobile at the same time, they are not allowed to do that and drive, starting to think pedestrians should be insured.

    AvatarJim Wallace says:

    Careful what you wish for.

    Best thing to do is get insurance, because if you run into “anyone”, be it an out of control kid or parent with a phone, they will sue you for sure.

    Scammers set up fake accidents in order to claim off the car drivers insurance.

    If insurance was made compulsory on mobility scooters l can see desperate people deliberately jumping out in front of them in order to claim a few grand for a bruised leg or 2.
    Or even sliding a foot under your wheel as you passed. A badly bruised or even better, a broken foot would be worth a few grand for sure.

    AvatarMary Kersey says:

    I have read the article and the responses with great interest. I became disabled just over 5 years ago and before that had been a car driver for many years. getting a small class 2 mobility scooter was a god send for me for getting round the shops but as I live in a small rural village with rough roads and no pavements this was really no help for me getting out and about locally. I have recently been given a road worthy class 3 scooter by a charity and this has allowed me to get out again. I had been feeling trapped at home so it has been like getting the keys to the outside world again. I do appreciate that us scooter users could cause problems in some places if we were not careful. I have been in receipt of comments such as Oh you are one of those people who drive me mad in supermarkets. I felt too embarrassed to point out that she was lucky to be able to walk around and I would love to be able to as well. I do appreciate these comments are made out of ignorance but they are hurtful. What I would like to point out is that it does take a bit of time to get used to using these scooters. I have registered mine and have insurance and do feel this is necessary. I do also intend to try to locate a suitable flashing beacon because I want to be as visible as possible on these rural roads – there are no pavements as an option and if there was I would certainly use them – a badly driven car racing past you is a very frightening experience on a narrow rural road – particularly if they hurl abuse at you because you are slow moving. I do wish there were off road courses to help with the initial experience but I am sure that where I live I would struggle to reach one anyway. I do think that there should be some sort of penalty if people drive their scooters while drunk – it behoves us scooter users to be responsible and considerate when we use them, but I dont think a ban from using one is reasonable as it is so easy for us disabled users to become isolated without them.

    AvatarConcerned Citizen says:

    There should be a total review of the law regarding these! Many who own these in my area are not physically disabled, are able to walk and are a menace within the supermarket where I work, crashing into the tills, shelving and to date, no serious accidents with other customers or their children, but many near misses. They are incapable of maneuvering in areas where it should be simple and easy, they are obviously not capable to handle such a machine. They also run riot in the local shopping center and pedestrian precinct.. I have asked one of our local Community Police Officers to obtain official guidelines on their policing of these (if any exist locally within our area) and to raise this subject within our relevant community meetings. When questioned by me, he did not have any idea of what he should be doing or what the law says! It appears anyone can have one, whether it be personally purchased or via help from the benefits system. I personally know some who are not psychologically stable to ride one of these, others are intoxicated and are riding around in oblivion! There is no mandatory insurance necessary, no driving test or test of knowledge of the Highway Code and who knows if those who wear spectacles have had their eyesight recently tested. For those that are genuine and really do have physical disabilities (not just lazy) and are willing to be tested regularly, pay for insurance and some form of pavement/road tax, then I would welcome them with open arms as part of our community!

    AvatarDouglas Campbell says:

    But no one requires cyclists to read Highway Code, take out insurance, have an eyesight test, etc.,

    For much more on this see

    AvatarConcerned Citizen says:

    Douglas, I agree with you 100%! At least cyclists don’t usually ride around inside stores or precincts and they should also be subject to some form of legislation. Safety first, not only for innocent pedestrians but also the rider too.

    AvatarFrances says:

    Just to make it clear that there are only a few specific circumstances in which someone who isn’t disabled can ride a mobility scooter legally:
    • they are training a disabled person to use it
    • they are delivering it to be repaired or collecting it afterwards
    • they are demonstrating it prior to a sale

    AvatarJim Wallace says:

    I had no idea that one needed to be registered disabled in order to ride a mobility scooter. I have never heard of someone being pulled over in order to check their disability documents.

    I frequently borrow my wife’s scooter. I suffer back pain to the extent l have been prescribed morphine. Therefore walking half a mile to the shops would not be possible.
    I never bothered to register as disabled as l am a retired nurse & have an income enough to survive on without claiming benefits.

    AvatarFrobisher says:

    i agree with you about those non disabled “and whats it got to do with you” scooter drivers, the laws of this needs to be clarified NOW….

    AvatarVal says:

    This is exactly the kind of discrimination I am talking about. How do you know these people are not disabled? Just cos someone can walk a very short distance does not mean they are not in terrible pain doing so, but just not showing it! I notice no mention of wheelchair, especially power chair users in this. As they largely cannot walk at all, are these going to be banned as well. A lot of disabilities come as a package rather than just one thing. Lungs, heart, cancer….and it is either lethargy from the illness or drugs used to control it that are problematic. Even wheelchairs pushed by carers can be a menace. Cyclists and also drunks or druggies on the pavement can cause issues. My hubby was called ‘lazy’ weeks before he died of cancer…yes he could walk, but not far enough for independence…and if the treatment makes you overweight too, then be prepared to be called fat & idle too. And as has been mentioned, bicycles are just as bad. Unlike a scooter they can reach speeds in excess of 25mph on the road, but are NOT made to get insurance or pass a test or wear safety gear. They dump they outside shops on the floor for folk to trip over, especially the blind and they continue to ride side by side and never seem to be stopped by Police about the hazard they create. Sick of discriminaton.

    AvatarJenny Hambidge says:

    I am really perturbed by the person who wrote that Non-disabled people ride around on mobility scooters apparently just for the fun of it. HE/she says “they can walk”. Many of us have hidden disabilities and impairments eg MS, Fibromyalgia, ME, heart problems. My friend has cancer and she uses a scooter because of the exhaustion. There are many conditions like this. Please do not judge us just because we can physically ” walk”.

    AvatarAnother powered wheelchair user says:

    The thing is both powered wheelchairs which I now have to use, and mobility scooters which I needed first are my legs. And you cannot tell looking at me that I am disabled I am 35 years old, and my disabilities aren’t visible on the outside. Most people probably assume my weight is the problem, because they don’t know that I used to work a 12 hour shift in a care home and then swim a quarter mile five days out of seven. They can’t see inside my body, or see the medication I take or the days each month I spend bedbound or housebound. My wheelchair is my legs. Without it I cannot leave the house at all. Now these days I don’t drink because with my medication alcohol is unsafe but, if it weren’t for medical reasons I should have the same right as anyone else my age to go for an evening out with friends enjoy a drink or even several drinks and come home again, no one is requiring pedestrians to have training on not walking in front of my wheelchair even though for safety reasons electric wheelchairs do not stop instantly when I stop pushing the joystick. And believe I have had that happen any time I go into town to shop. No one is requiring pedestrians to show any consideration about their actions. Or be insured to leave the house. But people can and do attack disabled people physically and purposefully. That is aside from people who hit me with their handbag in passing or hit my chair with their child’s buggy accidentally.

    Expecting people to be insured to use a mobility device is discrimatory. Its really that simple.

    AvatarDouglas Campbell says:

    Regrettably the guide I wrote – ‘Get Mobile, your guide to buying a scooter or powered wheelchair’ – was last updated in 2012, but is still worth a read.

    You can download it at

    AvatarJohn Willerton says:

    I know this is posted a long time after the other comments above and it’s going to be a long comment but I hope I can be of help to others. First, a few rants and raves and then I have a few suggestions to improve everyone’s lot.

    I am a new scooter user (three months experience only) and have invested in a large 8mph model. I have never been a car driver, for various reasons, and now an incurable illness means that, just as I need motor transport, I will have to wait several years and I’m likely to be past 70 before I can even consider applying for a motoring licence.
    However, I do have lots of on-road experience as I used to be a keen cyclist – 20,000 miles minimum a year. And if there’s one thing that’s certain on a bike, it’s you that’s going to be hurt in an accident even if it is 100 per cent someone else’s fault. In fact the only accidents I had on the bike were entirely my fault (cornering too fast in the wet before sliding sideways towards oncoming lorry; having total loss of brakes down a half-mile 1 in 8 due to not testing my new brakes very thoroughly before going out are among the most character-forming I can recall). I believe I stayed safe because I managed to stay alert at all times and taught myself to read the signs in the way the former fire engine driver describes.
    So I have learned to use my scooter pretty safely pretty quickly. But I have also learned a couple of new things. I would strongly suggest if you are going out at night or during dark winter afternoons you need extra lighting on your scooter. I have purchased extra rear running lights, indicators and brake lights for my machine and will this weekend be fitting them near the top of the back because I believe that the built-in lights, while fully compliant with the law, are not visible enough for motorists. Of course you can never please everyone. My machine has tiny LED headlamps and I have had several complaints that they are too bright. I will also be fitting flashing yellow beacons even though there are no local dual carriageways which I intend to use.
    But I will use the beacons on busy pavements and in shopping precincts because I have discovered that pedestrians are the most ill-disciplined and least aware of all road users. The problem is that the regulations require scooterists to give way to pedestrians at all times, even the idiots. One walked into my machine when I was parked outside a shop. I had just loaded my purchases onto the back and was taking a drink before moving off. It was in a darkish precinct so my lights were on. Nonetheless Mr I’m Reading My Smartphone bumped into me. And of course it was all my fault. His attitude was of course partly due to arrogance and partly due to this Tory government making it appear OK to vilify and bully the chronically sick and disabled.
    Incidentally, how many of you have had the snide remark “I suppose the DSS gave you that.” I do not intend to start carrying my receipt of purchase around but if I think things might escalate I make my stout stick clearly visible.
    So much for the problems we have with pedestrians.
    Most motorists I think are pretty reasonable and it seems to me the professional drivers of large lorries and buses are the most considerate of all. This of course depends on you using your scooter sensibly, positioning it correctly on the road, signalling clearly etc. Of course you will always get the bullies in 4X4s or boy racers in their Japanese bean cans trying their tricks but remember these yobs misbehave towards all other road users as well, not just you.

    That’s the majority of my newboy ranting over and part of my frustration is that I still have not got used to abandoning the bicycles. So when the scooter motor changes its tone slightly on a gentle slope I still curse and say to myself: “To think I used to glide over this bump without dropping a cog”.

    But what is the best way forward for scooterists? The problem is that even the larger ones like mine are not fast enough (or safe enough) to dice it in busy traffic on the road. But even the smaller 4mph ones are often too fast for unaware pedestrians. In other words, we fall between two stools. The only solution has to be education. People have to be made aware that these vehicles are perfectly legal and legitimate aids to mobility and if they are correctly controlled, it is up to pedestrians and motorists to accept their existence. We have a right to our independence and if we need a little machine to help, there’s nothing wrong with that. We do not seek to deprive anyone else of their rights. We are simply getting around as best as we can.
    Perhaps another clue came in the comment from a pal who said: “If you don’t pay road fund licence you shouldn’t be on the road.” He, like many, assumed there is some kind of exemption for the disabled. He seemed non-plussed when I pointed out that in this case, a disability plays no part. It is simply that all electric vehicles have been road fund exempt for years.

    So secondly, we perhaps need a more formal status. A good step might be to make basic insurance compulsory. And when you have it, there should be the compulsory display of a numbered badge, small certificate or the like. Such a badge smacks of the former car tax disc, I know, but it would tend to mark you out as a more responsible owner. (This would be also good for cyclists but heinously difficult to enforce, so it’s unlikely this government will ever bother because they want to cut the cost of policing, not increase the need for more officers).

    And finally, I see no reason why there should not be a simple test of competence for each user. If the test is correctly configured, it should take no more than ten minutes to prove you can steer properly, operate lights, signals etc, manouevre in tight spaces and perform an emergency stop. Again a badge of competence might bring about a better attitude to scooterists among other road users.

    AvatarLinda Claxton says:

    Before I was issued with my powered wheelchair I had to be tested to see if I was competent to operate it, maneuvering in and through doorways, go fast go slow, drive towards a wall and stop just short of it . Then I had to have a test of my mental capability, you know the ones remember a name and address until the end of the session, say the months of the year backwards and numerous of things. Only after all of that was clear was I issued with the chair for indoor use only, I had to be tested later for my ability to use it out doors, going up and down curbs, being able to drive a certain length in a straight line, turn around and come back.
    Are local authorities more interested in the safety of a loan chair than people who sell them for a living?
    I have found this discussion very interesting as I long ago used a mobility scooter, which I bought second hand, luckily I did have a driving licence so did not find the using of it too difficult and was aware of my surroundings.
    I must admit though that I have seen people about who look as if they do need some training.

    AvatarMobility and Comfort says:

    Very interesting article about legalising mobility scooters, thank you

    AvatarBRIAN WORSDALE says:


    AvatarFrances says:

    Hello Brian

    I am happy to clarify the situation for you. According to guidance from the Gov.UK website, someone who is not disabled can only drive a mobility scooter if:

    • they are training a disabled person to use it
    • they are delivering it to be repaired or collecting it afterwards
    • they are demonstrating it prior to a sale

    Clearly, your grandson won’t be covered by any of those exceptions, so he shouldn’t be using it!

    AvatarJim Wallace says:

    I bought one for my daughter to use during this pandemic. She is not disabled, she is a community carer. She does not ride a cycle, nor does she drive. Therefore she used the scooter for work. Public transport was not an option.
    She has one of those local authority badges round her neck so it’s very unlikely she would be pulled over & charged by the local Bobby.

    However l can understand that some may not approve of buying one for a healthy child to play on.

    AvatarFrances says:

    An interesting comment received from Chris, a permanent wheelchair user who also delivers courses based around disability for a long-established charity.
    I was interested to read your article on mobility scooters in the latest newsletter. Our charity has a great interest in providing and advising on the safe use of equipment so we would love to be involved in the development of a national safety scheme for scooter use. We would also be an ideal centre for co-ordinating delivery of the scheme for new drivers. I think there should be some overall scheme/course which scooter drivers would need to pass before hitting the road. It could contain elements of road sense, safety, maintenance, repair, insurance …whatever.
    Currently I know of a scooter driver training DVD called “Safescoot” which is promoted by Norfolk Constabulary. This came to my attention when I was collecting training resources for my various disability courses. It seems to very sensible and comprehensive.
    I know Metrolink (the Manchester Tram or Light Rail System) are currently running a pilot scheme which allows mobility scooters on the tram network provided the scooter driver has successfully completed a “proficiency” course run by Shopmobility Manchester.
    Although not a scooter user I often come into contact with them at places like the disabled seating at a sports venue, music/theatre venues or on some forms of transport. I also encounter them on the roads as I am a daily car driver.
    Do you want to know my personal theory?
    I think many scooter riders have not been long-term car drivers. Maybe an older woman has lost her husband (statistically likely), and he was the main/only car driver. She becomes isolated and is advised (naturally) to get an 8 mph road scooter to regain her independence. Now hits the road, city centre, rush hour and the rest, without that lifetime of accumulated road sense that an older car driver would have!
    I’d love to know if any research has been done on the background/experience of scooter drivers to back up or refute this.
    And honestly – this is in no way a dig at women drivers. I’m a mathematician by training so I always go by the relevant stats! (In this case men die earlier than women).

    AvatarMjg says:

    My husband had his driving licence revoked because of two degenerative illnesses. NHS said he could not have a motorised wheelchair because he’d lost his licence. When I asked them why my friend, who has never driven in her life and is paralysed has an NHS motorised wheelchair, they were non-plussed. Needless to say, my husband got his chair in the end. My friend, had hospital instruction in a rehabilitation unit before being allowed her chair. My husband received the same before getting his chair. I used to work in a school that had a specialist disability unit we had five year old children using motorised wheelchairs.

    When my husband lost the use of his right hand, he was assessed using his left hand and passed with flying colours. Later, the neuro-psychologist warned me that his brain in the area of spatial reasoning was becoming affected and advised me to have the controls removed from him and attendant controls fitted to the rear of the chair, this was done. I did not undergo an assessment of any kind but took things very slowly at first and avoided busy places and times of day until I felt confident I had the measure of everything.

    Having a driving licence and driving experience is not necessary. What is necessary is good instruction from qualified personnel and the individual showing they are mature and responsible enough to operate the chair safely. Driving a car and operating a wheelchair are not the same.

    It is also shocking how many pedestrians will deliberately and suddenly cut across the path of someone in a motorised chair and if they are brushed or clipped or any contact made, they stop and glare.

    Avatarbrett johnson says:

    As a daily mobility scooter user – it is my opinion that whilst as you say they are not “regarded” as vehicles – they DO need to be used with the same care and regard ( in fact more so ) AS a vehicle – certainly if used on the road ( 8 mph versions ).
    Let’s get the DD subject out of the way first – being drunk in charge of ANY type of vehicle ( pushbikes included ) solicits NO sympathy from me, as a former firefighter who has had to deal with many accidents caused by drink – both rescue and medical, I am afraid there should be a TOTAL BAN on drinking and driving PERIOD!! When in charge /control of ANY type of mechanical vehicle, the operator should be 100% alert and concentrating on the task at hand – DRIVING.
    So far as insurance – this too should be made compulsory – it’s NOT expensive ( I pay some £60 a year ) and covers you for third party and other things – and in these days of people being “spatially unaware” – especially the i-pod generation and those concentrating on texting etc whilst walking – I agree only a fool would be without it – NOT to cover any fault of yours – more to prevent one getting sued by someone who is NOT concentrating on the task of being a pedestrian. Sadly of course, given the current opinion on disabled people by the public, and aided by government rhetoric and media hype, we are regarded as less than 2nd class citizens – virtually ANY incident involving a scooter or wheelchair is AUTOMATICALLY the user’s fault. I have seen ludicrous claims that “he was doing 25 mph on the pavement” and other similar uninformed statements from “witnesses” to accidents in the press and online – yet the REALITY is that to AVOID accidents you have to be something of a mind reader and be able to anticipate ( second guess ) what johnny pedestrian is going to do next, and be observant for clues such as leads to ear phones etc, which shows that the pedestrian is concentrating on something other than looking where they are going. So YES, get some insurance, as believe me I am VERY glad of my emergency vehicle driver training that taught me to LOOK at the clues to what others where doing.
    Also there is a need for scooter users to REALISE that THEY need to take responsibility for being seen!! Hi vis jackets – use of lights if fitted ( tho’ you will get “helpful” people who keep telling you they are on ) AND IF you are going to use a scooter on the road – some sort of flashing beacon on a mounting at driver eye hight ( actually a requirement if used on fast roads – look it up ). Anything less is frankly suicidal IMO – and certainly in busy cities I would NOT recommend the use of a scooter on the road if at all possible – don’t forget users are small and VERY vulnerable, and like cyclists – SOME vehicle drivers seem to think we should not be on the road at all – I have been given verbal abuse by drivers for going on the road to get round cars parked on the pavement – you just can’t win.
    As to training, well fine BUT who is going to give the training ?? – “experts” who have never used a scooter /chair in daily life? Or maybe here is an opening FOR disabled people’s employment – as again citing my fire service days, only those who have “been there /done that ” are really FIT to train others – you can’t teach this stuff from a book or set of “government inspired” – ( excuse me whilst i snigger ) guidelines.
    BUT having said all that – like all things in life COMMON SENSE is what is required, by ALL parties – after all ANY ONE OF US could need to use a scooter or chair tomorrow – and belive me – it’s NOT as easy as it looks.

    AvatarFrances says:

    An interesting follow-up to this article received from Frank Adams:
    “Having read your article regarding being over the driving limit whilst using a scooter, and the law.
    I used a range of scooters from the early 80’s until I had to use a wheelchair fulltime thirteen years ago. I was involved in a Department of Transport project to produce a video and handbook on the knowledge and use of “Class 3 invalid tricycles”, and a great deal of the information was applicable to Class 2 as well. It was called “Be Safe at 8mph.” This training package was launched when class 3s were recently launched. The idea was for dealers and the interested public to gain knowledge and guidance on the use of both scooters and powered wheelchairs. Although the training pack was launched at the Mobility Roadshow by Steven Norris the then minister for disabled people, it didn’t seem to be taken up by the trade. Surely it is time that this should be updated and made available again.
    Regarding the idea of making insurance compulsory: although I believe that it is foolish in the extreme not to have it, in the litigation culture we now live in, this – together with the suggestion of a test of competence – is discriminatory, unless it is extended to include the users of bicycles as well. After all anyone can get on a bike and pedal everywhere, including the illegal use on pavements without proving capability or competence.”

    AvatarFrobisher says:

    my neighbour is a user of crack cocaine and a heavy user of cannabis, she is not disabled in any way but uses a friends mobility scooter to go to the shops, take her dog for a walk etc etc, she just stops where she wants outside the shops, having no cares as to the inconvenience to other pedestrians, shoppers etc, and beeps the horn to make people move out of her way, when i have said to her ” your not disabled you should have some respect for those who need the scooters” her reply is Fxxx Off! this should be illegal as well as Drug driving!!

    AvatarMac says:

    There are at least two reasons why the person behaves as you describe… Our town has no shortage of similar behaviour and it’s “entitlement” at its ugly work.
    Change can only come from within and it might happen but I strongly doubt it. You have at least made your opinion known, perhaps you’ll get a less entitled neighbour in the future.

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