This week we would like to update our mobility scooter and wheelchair / power wheelchair users of the Highway Code. This is a set of rules all road and pavement users should follow to stay safe and protect other pedestrians and road users.
This is really important as we know that a small few mobility scooter users tend to ignore these rules and therefore give the rest of mobility scooter and wheelchair users a bad name and court bad press which is not what we want for the industry as a whole.
Some of the key rules to follow on the road and pavement include:
Powered wheelchairs and mobility scooters (rules 36 to 37)
There is one class of manual wheelchair (called a Class 1 invalid carriage) and two classes of powered wheelchairs and powered mobility scooters (Class 2 and Class 3). Manual wheelchairs and Class 2 vehicles are those with an upper speed limit of 4 mph and are designed to be used on pavements. Class 3 vehicles are those with an upper speed limit of 8 mph and are equipped to be used on the road as well as the pavement.
When you are on the road you should obey the guidance and rules for other vehicles; when on the pavement you should follow the guidance and rules for pedestrians.
On pavements (rules 38 to 40)
Pavements are safer than roads and should be used when available. You should give pedestrians priority and show consideration for other pavement users, particularly those with a hearing or visual impairment who may not be aware that you are there.
Powered wheelchairs and scooters MUST NOT travel faster than 4 mph on pavements or in pedestrian areas. You may need to reduce your speed to adjust to other pavement users who may not be able to move out of your way quickly enough or where the pavement is too narrow.
When moving off the pavement onto the road, you should take special care. Before moving off, always look round and make sure it’s safe to join the traffic. Always try to use dropped kerbs when moving off the pavement, even if this means travelling further to locate one. If you have to climb or descend a kerb, always approach it at right angles and don’t try to negotiate a kerb higher than the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations.
On the road (rules 41 to 46)
You should take care when travelling on the road as you may be travelling more slowly than other traffic (your machine is restricted to 8 mph and may be less visible).
When on the road, Class 3 vehicles should travel in the direction of the traffic. Class 2 users should always use the pavement when it is available. When there is no pavement, you should use caution when on the road. Class 2 users should, where possible, travel in the direction of the traffic. If you are travelling at night lights MUST be used and you should travel in the direction of the traffic to avoid confusing other road users.
You MUST follow the same rules about using lights, indicators and horns as for other road vehicles, if your vehicle is fitted with them. At night, lights MUST be used. Be aware that other road users may not see you and you should make yourself more visible – even in the daytime and also at dusk – by, for instance, wearing a reflective jacket or reflective strips on the back of the vehicle.
Take extra care at road junctions. When going straight ahead, check to make sure there are no vehicles about to cross your path from the left, the right, or overtaking you and turning left. There are several options for dealing with right turns, especially turning from a major road. If moving into the middle of the road is difficult or dangerous, you can
- stop on the left-hand side of the road and wait for a safe gap in the traffic
- negotiate the turn as a pedestrian, i.e. travel along the pavement and cross the road between pavements where it is safe to do so. Class 3 users should switch the vehicle to the lower speed limit when on pavements.
If the junction is too hazardous, it may be worth considering an alternative route. Similarly, when negotiating major roundabouts (i.e. with two or more lanes) it may be safer for you to use the pavement or find a route which avoids the roundabout altogether.
All normal parking restrictions should be observed. Your vehicle should not be left unattended if it causes an obstruction to other pedestrians – especially those in wheelchairs. Parking concessions provided under the Blue Badge scheme (see further reading) will apply to those vehicles displaying a valid badge.
These vehicles MUST NOT be used on motorways (see Rule 253). They should not be used on unrestricted dual carriageways where the speed limit exceeds 50 mph but if they are used on these dual carriageways, they MUST have a flashing amber beacon. A flashing amber beacon should be used on all other dual carriageways (see Rule 220).
For a more in depth guide please see the full Highway Code at the Government Website.
Although mobility insurance is not compulsory, we strongly advise that you take out a specific mobility insurance policy. This will cover you for accidental fire, flood, loss or damage due to theft and also will cover you up to £2 million pounds public and private liability in case of an accident.
Our insurance policies start from as little as £86 per annum – click here for more information on our range of insurance policies.
Finally if you are thinking about buying a new mobility scooter or powerchair please visit the More Than Mobility website or if you are confused or need any further advice on the Highway Code please do not hesitate to give us a call.
Stay safe on the roads and pavements!
More than Mobility Team