Mobility Scooters, Safety, Restrictions and Legal Responsibilities
Now you have your scooter, you know how to use it and how to look after it, it’s time to take it out for a spin! However, there are some things to consider to keep you and others safe, and there are restrictions and laws which also apply, particularly if you have a road scooter.
Make sure you feel ready to go out into town – you can always benefit from more practice, or pop to our showroom and have some training on our special track. Just like when you drive a car, it’s a good idea to check that the scooter is in good working order before you go out. Get into the habit of giving yours a quick once-over, and pay attention to the following:
- No expired wires, and they’re all connected properly
- The battery is fully charged (you can give it a quick zap if you’ve got to go out, but it’s not recommended)
- The seat is adjusted for your comfort and locked into place
- The brakes and tyres are in good condition
Consider having third party insurance in case anyone makes a claim against you or you have a bump and cause some damage. You need to register a Class 3 road scooter with the DVLA and have “nil value” tax (you don’t pay vehicle tax for a mobility scooter). You can also think about getting breakdown cover.
Always be aware of what’s around you; this includes vehicles, pedestrians (especially small children) and cats and dogs, which can appear out of nowhere. When you come to a stop, switch the scooter off, because it’s easy to catch the accelerator lever with clothes or a bag (or a child!) And remember, pedestrians have right of way. If you want to take your scooter into a shop or shopping centre, it’s best to check in advance. You need to always be considerate of other shoppers and not go too fast. Other concerns are in case you get stuck in a small space or if you block a pathway. When you’re in a shop or on the pavement you must not go faster than 4mph, and often you need to go slower, particularly if it’s busy and people need to move out of your way. A slower speed makes it safer for you to turn a corner or weave around pedestrians (if it’s safe to do so).
Road scooters, which have a maximum speed of 8mph, must obey the same rules of the Highway Code as other vehicles (such as driving on the left hand side – you don’t want to startle a driver by meeting them head on!) Stop at red lights and if you need to turn right, try to do it at a pedestrian crossing.
Don’t forget that cars will be travelling much quicker than you, and need to give you space. DO NOT: Use a bus or cycle lane, drive on the motorway or rive on a dual carriageway with a speed limit of 50mph. You must have an amber flashing light if you use a dual carriageway with a lower speed limit. Take care on busy roads and avoid them if you can.
If you want to use public transport, check beforehand that your scooter can be carried. Most train companies accept small scooters provided you have a permit, but some expect them to be dismantled and stored in a large luggage space (by the door) and some don’t allow them at all.
Class 2 scooters (not road scooters) can be carried on some buses, and the bus company will assess your vehicle for suitability for inclusion in the scheme. They will supply the permit for you.
Have your scooter serviced annually, and if there’s anything you’re worried about, please call Dependable (0191 649 8733) and ask for our advice, no matter how small the problem is.