Where am I allowed to use my mobility scooter? The rules explained
Currently, in the UK, 20% of the population either uses a mobility scooter or knows a relative or friend who does. For many older individuals who rely on mobility scooters for everyday mobility, scooters play a crucial role in enhancing independence and assisting in movement when otherwise unable to.
However, using mobility scooters has its own set of rules. Users must first become acquainted with the mobility scooter laws to easily face busy streets, pavements and roads for their own safety and the safety of those around them. The main mobility scooter regulation is that they should only be used in a public space if you have been medically advised to or if you have a physical disability that impacts your ability to walk.
• Understanding mobility scooters
• Are mobility scooters allowed in shops and supermarkets?
• Are mobility scooters allowed in hospitals?
• Are mobility scooters allowed on public transport?
• Using mobility scooters on the pavement
• Using mobility scooters on the road
• Find the right mobility scooter for your needs
Understanding mobility scooters
Mobility scooters are categorised into two groups: ‘Class 3 mobility scooters,’ which are designed for road use, and ‘Class 2 mobility scooters’, which typically don’t reach high speeds and are not designed for roads, such as foldable scooters and pavement scooters.
The first step to understanding mobility scooters is to differentiate the different types and how you intend to use them.
For example, foldable mobility scooters can offer many travel benefits with their quick fold-up fold-down capabilities, meaning they can fit into your car boot for easy storage and transportation. Likewise, road-legal scooters offer great independence as they can get on the road with speeds up to 8mph, and quick trips to the shops and back can be easily achieved. Only Class 3 mobility scooters, registered as road-legal, are allowed on the road.
If you are looking for a scooter option that lets you experience nature and shops up close, pavement scooters are a popular choice for tackling public walkways and spaces at a brisk walking pace of 4mph.
When considering a mobility scooter, it is important to research which key features you will need the most as some scooters may be more practical than others. Consider your lifestyle and what suits you and your budget best to choose the right mobility aid. It may be that your living location is more pedestrian-friendly and close to the shops, in which case a pavement scooter may be preferable if there is no need to opt for a larger road-legal scooter.
Are mobility scooters allowed in shops and supermarkets?
Pavement and portable mobility scooters are allowed in public spaces such as shops and supermarkets. These spaces already account for disability users through the Equality Act 2010. This law impacts all UK businesses and allows equal access to mobility scooter users with inclusive features, such as ramps and lifts, legally required where necessary.
As a result of this Act, when navigating shops, there should be plenty of aisle space to move around at your leisure. Additionally, retail staff will be more than happy to assist with reaching products in-store and packing or carrying your shopping at the checkout.
Are mobility scooters allowed in hospitals?
Yes, mobility scooters are allowed in hospitals much like businesses, and they accommodate those with mobility issues. However, the size of your mobility scooter may impact the spaces you are allowed to access in the hospital due to space limitations. Lightweight mobility scooters may be the best choice for regular hospital use, as there should be no issues with space or any potential weight restrictions in lifts.
Aside from this, some hospitals also offer specific scooter parking areas. In some instances, you may need to contact the hospital ahead of time to ensure they allow mobility scooter parking and to find out their mobility scooter policy. If not, you can ask for an alternative and they should provide you with a wheelchair or cart substitute.
Hospital policies can differ, so researching your hospital’s mobility scooter policy in advance will help assure you that you will be appropriately catered to upon arrival.
Are mobility scooters allowed on public transport?
Mobility scooters are allowed on public transport and are ideal for travelling in all forms. However, in some instances, heavy mobility scooters may be denied access due to weight limitations, so a portable or lightweight mobility scooter may be more compliant with strict public transport limits.
On buses, trains and trams, the UK accommodates mobility scooter users with designated disability seating and spaces for mobility scooters or wheelchairs. They also have trained staff that can assist you with ramps and any schedule queries if you need help getting on and off on your journey. It’s always recommended to research and enquire ahead of your travels to make sure you will be properly accommodated.
With trains, you can book assistance (such as Passenger Assist with National Rail) via telephone/app/website to help with your luggage, and additionally enquire about the transport company’s policy, as they may be different across various train or bus services. When travelling by train, you may also be eligible for a free Disabled Persons Railcard, which can be beneficial as it offers discounts and savings on ticket prices for mobility users who meet the appropriate criteria.
Even abroad, your public transport methods are limitless as you can bring a mobility scooter on a plane if it meets airport weight regulations and is portable. With no restrictions on your holidays, you can easily bring along your mobility scooter to get around wherever you are.
Using mobility scooters on the pavement
Before you begin using a mobility scooter on the pavement, you will first have to become familiar with the mobility scooter rules and legal guidelines for scooter usage with consideration for pedestrian safety.
Legally, the UK Government states all mobility scooters must travel at a maximum of 4mph on footpaths or in pedestrian-friendly areas and you cannot park a scooter on a public walkway as this interferes with other pedestrians.
As a mobility scooter user, you are allowed to use your scooter in pedestrian areas, however, you cannot drive in cycle paths as this is designated for cyclists only for safety reasons. If, on your travels, you encounter any damage caused to your mobility device, it’s best to have insurance that will cover you against any potential claims caused by or to your scooter.
Using mobility scooters on the road
Mobility scooters designed for the road are classified as ‘Class 3’ road-legal mobility scooters and they come with their own set of highway code rules and road regulations for safe usage. The road rules for mobility scooters are essential to know, as these ensure your safety and the safety of other drivers. By keeping to the appropriate speed limits and avoiding restricted areas on the road, you can be cautious and travel with traffic laws and signals in mind.
Find the right mobility scooter for your needs
Use your mobility scooter both safely and effectively by following proper road and pedestrian etiquette and begin enjoying the benefits of transportation freedom and independence. The UK is becoming an increasingly inclusive environment for scooter users and continues to make getting around easier for those with walking impairments.
At Monarch Mobility, we have over twenty years’ worth of experience and expertise as one of the UK’s leading mobility specialists. We understand the demand for disability aids and how it can be a lifeline to many individuals who need the extra support.
With our diverse range of mobility equipment and scooters available across the whole of the UK Mainland, we can help find the right mobility scooter for you.