For people that are unable to walk or need assistance with getting around, a mobility scooter is a method of transportation that offers comfort, storage and improved movement for the user. Many older people use them, with the option to pick from a selection of scooters based on their own personal requirements.
A mobility scooter can become an important component in a person’s life as it can improve their quality of life and provide them with a sense of independence. However, if you’re considering getting yourself a mobility scooter, it’s important that you’re aware of where you’re allowed to use one. In this blog, we look at where you’re allowed to take mobility scooters, focusing on indoor and outdoor areas as well as methods of public transport.
Before attempting to ride a mobility scooter on the road, it’s crucial that you not only check that it’s legal but also that it’s safe. In certain circumstances, you may be able to use a mobility scooter on specific roads. For instance, Class 2 mobility scooters aren’t allowed on any roads, but there are rules in place that allow users of Class 3 scooters to navigate UK roads.
Class 3 mobility scooters are able to drive on dual carriageways providing they don’t move into bus or cycle lanes. If the scooter isn’t able to reach 25 miles per hour, it must display a flashing amber beacon whenever the national speed limit applies. However, it’s often advised that people on Class 3 mobility scooters avoid dual carriageways with speed limits that exceed 50 miles per hour.
The rules are also very different for motorways, with the use of mobility scooters on these roads strictly forbidden. You are allowed to use a mobility scooter on all other roads but you need to register with the DVLA before using it.
Mobility scooters are allowed on pavements and, where possible, they should be used instead of roads. However, if you’re using a mobility scooter on a pavement or a similar pedestrian area, it shouldn’t move any faster than four miles per hour. You should also show consideration to other people on the pavement and give priority to pedestrians.
If you are unable to walk and need the added support of a mobility scooter, it’s likely that you would benefit from using your mobility scooter indoors. As such, it would be important to know whether mobility scooters are allowed indoors. However, it’s often more a matter of the specific building’s facilities than a case of mobility scooters being allowed or not.
For example, if the building has wide doors, ramps or lifts and open space for the mobility scooter to travel indoors without obstacles or risks, it may be suitable for a mobility scooter. But if a building doesn’t have these considerations in place, it’s unlikely that they would allow people to navigate the building on a mobility scooter.
With so many people now using mobility scooters, a large number of shops and supermarkets allow customers to use them in store. In some cases, supermarkets will not only allow people to use mobility scooters indoors but also provide scooters that can be borrowed by shoppers. If a shop doesn’t allow mobility scooters, it’s likely based on the size of the building and space available within the shop.
Mobility scooters are often allowed on planes to assist people who need them during holidays abroad. You should, however, carry out your own research on airlines and look into their policy on mobility scooters before booking a flight with them. Some airlines will charge additional fees for housing mobility scooters while others will include the storage and transportation of mobility scooters free of charge.
It’s also likely that the airline will need the specifications of your mobility scooter such as the weight and size so they know how much space it will take up. You would typically inform the airline of these details 24 hours prior to your flight, but as each airline is different, it’s important that you read the terms and conditions or contact their customer service team before booking.
As scooters are available in different shapes and sizes, it’s not guaranteed that all trains will be able to accommodate them. It’s also not always possible to move a mobility scooter around a train, and getting them on and off trains can be troublesome, especially with many mobility scooters being heavy and ramps struggling to hold them.
As such, some train service providers may be unable to allow a mobility scooter onto their fleet. To avoid any issues, it would be advisable to contact the train company prior to buying tickets in case they’re unable to house your mobility scooter during travel.
The rules for mobility scooters being allowed on trains is similar to buses in the sense that the type of scooter and train will define whether it’s possible. A code from the Department of Transport and UK Confederation of Passenger Transport offered guidelines of what is and isn’t acceptable. Class 2, lightweight mobility scooters are allowed on most buses providing the scooter is no longer than 1,000 millimetres, no wider than 600 millimetres and possesses a turning circle that doesn’t exceed 1,200 millimetres. The scooter’s weight combined with the weight of the user should also stay within a maximum of 300 kilograms.
Class 3 scooters, however, would not be allowed on buses due to the more substantial weight and size. However, it’s important to bear in mind that, even if you own a Class 2 mobility scooter, you need to apply for a permit before you’re able to travel on buses. You would usually do this by getting in touch with the bus service provider. At this point, you may even be able to obtain a permit that allows travel on a selection of different bus companies.
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