Can electric wheelchairs go on the road?

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can electric wheelchairs go on the road

Electric wheelchairs are becoming more and more popular in recent years. Whilst mobility scooters are still more common, newer versions of electric wheelchair, can often be a more flexible mobility vehicle. Hence their increased popularity with elderly and disabled people.

Lightweight, folding electric wheelchairs are becoming extremely popular. This is mainly due to their small size, light weight and long travel range. Some models can travel up to 25 miles on a single charge. Due to such good battery life, they are great for small local journeys. But they can also be a great option for longer trips.

They can travel over long distances, but can electric wheelchairs go on the road? The answer to this is usually no, they cannot be used on the road. Most electric wheelchairs would be considered a Class 2 mobility vehicle, this means they are not eligible for road use.

Most electric wheelchairs have a maximum speed of around 4mph and are intended for use on the pavement. They are not designed to be used on any kind of main road.

What mobility vehicles are allowed on the road?

Class 3 mobility vehicles are allowed on the road in the UK. This class of mobility aid mostly consists of larger, more robust mobility scooters. These vehicles are over 113.5kg in weight. Anything under this would be considered a class 2 and would not be eligible for road use.

A class 3 mobility scooter will also have a maximum speed limit of 8 mph for use on a public highway. It should also have an adjustable speed allowing it to travel at the maximum of 4mph on pavements.

Due to a maximum speed limit of 8mph on the road and 4mph on the pavement, a class 3 mobility scooter should be fitted with a speed indicator. This is to make sure the speed limit is not broken whilst travelling on the public footpath.

When the vehicle is being used on the road it is advised to display a flashing amber light. This is intended to alert other road users of your presence.

Finally, if you are planning on getting a class 3 mobility vehicle you will be required to register it with the DVLA. This is currently free.

For new vehicles, you will need to fill in V55/4 form, this can be obtained from your local post office and posted to the DVLA. If your mobility scooter is second hand, you will need a V55/5. This can also be found at your local post office and should be filled in and posted before you are eligible to use your scooter on the road.

Finally, you should not be using a Class 3 mobility scooter on any road that has a speed limit of 50mph or over. This would cause too much disruption for other road users and could potentially be dangerous.

Where can an electric wheelchair be used?

As we mentioned previously, electric wheelchairs are generally considered a class 2 mobility vehicle. This is due to several reasons that can be seen below:

  1. They tend to be much lighter in weight. This means they are not as robust as a larger mobility scooter. This would make them more dangerous if used on the road.

  2. Most electric wheelchairs have a speed limit of 4mph. This is the maximum speed limit allowed for use on pavement, but it is far below the 8 mph requirement for a class 3 scooter.

  3. They do not need to be registered with the DVLA

  4. A class 2 electric wheelchair, or mobility scooter can be used by people of any age. Class 3 on the other hand has an age limit of 14 years or over.

Due to being classed as a class 2 mobility vehicle, an electric wheelchair can not be used on the road. The exception to this rule is when there is not a pavement available, or if the user is crossing the road to reach the pavement on the other side

Your electric wheelchair can generally be used in all pedestrian areas. This will include any pavements and public footpaths. It also includes most shops, shopping centres and supermarkets. Although, the owner of these establishments is entitled to restrict the use of mobility vehicles if they see fit.

If you want to know if a certain shop, or supermarket will allow you access on your electric wheelchair or scooter, it is advised to check directly beforehand. This can be done by checking the company’s website, or contacting them directly by phone, or email.

Are there rules that must be followed on the pavement?

If you are using your electric wheelchair on a public footpath or pavement, the rules are not as strict as those you must follow on the road. However, there are still some rules and recommendations, which should be followed to protect yourself and other pedestrians.

  1. Do not exceed the speed limit of 4mph. This speed is more than adequate for public footpath use.  A normal walking pace is generally around 3mph, so a maximum limit of 4mph on most electric wheelchairs, is equivalent to a brisk walk.

  2. Make sure that your wheelchair is fully charged. Also try to have a fully charged mobile phone with you. This will mean you are less likely to breakdown and if you do you can contact a friend or family member to assist you.

  3. Regardless of the class of scooter or wheelchair you are using, try and plan your route to avoid road use where possible. In general, you are going to be safer on the pavement. Just remember if you are driving a class 3 vehicle, you will need to reduce speed to 4mph for use on the pavement.

  4. Finally, if you are using your wheelchair or scooter at night, you should use lights to alert other people of your presence. It may also be advisable to where a high visibility jacket to help you stand out more.

Can electric wheelchairs go on the road without insurance?

Whether your electric wheelchair or mobility scooter is allowed on the road or not, insurance is not a requirement. However, it is recommended.

In most cases mobility insurance will provide you with cover for your own personal safety. Plus, the safety of others, as well as accidental damage to someone else’s property.  The insurance should also cover the value of your vehicle if it is damaged or stolen.

Electric wheelchair insurance can cost as little as a few pounds per month and is usually well worth the small additional cost.

Conclusion – So, can electric wheelchairs go on the road?

As we have discussed in this article, your wheelchair or scooter will not be able to go on the road unless it is a registered class 3 mobility vehicle.

When you are buying a new mobility vehicle this is something you should consider. If you want to drive your mobility scooter or wheelchair on the road, you will need to discuss this with the company you are buying from, to make sure you get the correct class of vehicle.  

We hope you have found this article useful. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below.



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