Numerous companies are manufacturing different and advanced mobility aids for people who cannot walk or face difficulty in walking. In the UK market disabled people can choose from options like manual wheelchairs, powered wheelchairs, electric mobility scooters, etc. These mobility aids have provided convenience, accessibility, freedom and independence to senior citizens suffering from mobility issues world wide. Any person using them on the roads should understand all the rules and regulations prior using them in the public places. The UK government has defined three types of invalid carriages or mobility aids in its law as follows-
- Class1- Manual wheelchairs which are self-propelled or attendant propelled.
- Class 2 – Powered wheelchairs and mobility scooters which are intended to use on footpath or pavements with a maximum speed limit of 4mph.
- Class 3 – Powered wheelchairs and mobility vehicles for use on the road with a maximum speed limit of 8mph, but they can also travel on footpath or pavement with maximum speed limit of 4mph.
There are certain rules and regulations for the use of these mobility devices to be used and should be followed by all the users in the UK. All mobility vehicles can be used on footpaths, pavements, and in pedestrian areas at a maximum speed limit of 4mph. Class1 and class 2 vehicles can be used on roads only in areas where pavement is not available or if the person wants to cross the road. Whereas, class 3 vehicles can be freely used on roads at a maximum speed limit of 8kmp, but cannot be used on motorways, in bus lanes or in ‘cycles only’ lanes. They should be used on dual carriageways with a speed limit of 50mph. It is mandatory to use amber flashing lights for class 3 vehicles on dual carriageways for safety reasons. They are also recommended to wear fluorescent color jackets for easy visibility to opposing traffic during night hours. They should train and test the equipment well prior hitting the road. Although according to government rules these scooters are not legally defined as motor vehicles, the user is not required to have any driving license or to take any test. However, both new and used class 3 vehicles are required to be registered with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and display a ‘nil duty’ tax disc. All the above are important safety rules to use powered wheelchairs and mobility scooters in the UK.