For those with limited mobility, it can be a challenge to maintain independence. While straight and curved stairlifts can help people in their homes, mobility scooters are often the best solution for travelling further afield. Mobility scooters can provide freedom to the user, allowing them to go to the shops, the park, or an appointment without relying on others. If you are considering getting a mobility scooter, this guide will answer your most important questions.
Mobility scooters can range quite dramatically in price, with the cheapest option starting at around £800 and the more expensive scooters priced at around £4,000 and above. The cheapest mobility scooters tend to be ‘Class 2’ scooters which are only to be used off-road.
There are ways to obtain a mobility scooter for less or even for free. For example, certain charities provide funding, and the Motability scheme allows you to exchange your qualifying mobility allowance for a mobility scooter.
The Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a form of disability allowance the government provides. PIP can help those with limited mobility more easily afford a mobility scooter. While the price of a mobility scooter will vary depending on the model and your personal PIP allowance, most scooters will cost less than your weekly mobility allowance when using the Motability scheme.
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You can hire mobility scooters in the UK, with various companies providing this option. Depending on the company, you can hire mobility scooters for weeks at a time, or some will require a minimum hire of four weeks. This can be a good option for a temporary lack of mobility or for visiting relatives. Companies you can consider include:
Mobility scooters are allowed on the road. However, there are specific rules on what sort of scooters are permitted to do so. If you want to take a mobility scooter on the road, it must be a ‘Class 3’ scooter fitted with front and rear lights, indicators, and a horn.
‘Class 2’ mobility scooters are not allowed on the road. If you plan to travel on the road in your ‘Class 3’ scooter, you must not drive in bus or taxi lanes and must adhere to all the road signs. It is also a great idea to wear visible clothing so it is easy for other motorists to spot you.
Driving a scooter is like driving a car, and being aware is one of the most important things, but it is a great way to give yourself or someone you love a bit of freedom and independence.
You have to watch your speed even when you’re on a mobility scooter, much like a car. The speed limit for mobility scooters varies between classes. ‘Class 2’ mobility scooters – which cannot be used on the road – have a speed limit of four mph. ‘Class 3’ mobility scooters have a speed limit of eight mph when on the road and four mph off-road.
Most train companies will allow you to take your mobility scooter on the train. However, the scooter must comply with certain weight and size limits. For example, National Rail stipulates that they can only carry mobility scooters and wheelchairs up to 700mm wide and 1200mm long with a maximum weight of 300kg.
Mobility scooters are allowed in shops though unfortunately, not all shops will be as accessible as others. Most supermarkets will have wheelchair access and provide wide aisles that make bringing in a mobility scooter easy, but some high street shops won’t be as accessible. However, the Equality Act 2010 states that businesses must make reasonable adjustments for disabled people.
You do not need a driving licence for a mobility scooter, according to Gov.uk, but you might have to register it, depending on what class the scooter is. For example, ‘Class 2’ mobility scooters are not allowed on the roads, but as ‘Class 3’ scooters are permitted to drive on the road, they must be registered with the DVLA.
You do not need to have a Blue Badge to drive a mobility scooter. However, government guidelines require users to “have trouble walking because of an injury, physical disability or medical condition”. If you don’t meet these criteria, you won’t be able to drive a mobility scooter.
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While you do not need insurance to drive a mobility scooter, it is recommended. By having insurance, especially if you are driving on the road, you will be covered in case of an accident. In addition, insurance might provide more peace of mind, so it is well worth considering.
The lifespan of mobility scooter batteries varies depending on the model and how much it is used. Most manufacturers will provide a 12-month warranty on mobility scooter batteries, but typically, you can expect the batteries to last up to 18 months with frequent use. For those who use their scooter less regularly, perhaps once or twice a week, to visit the shops, the battery life can last closer to a few years.
We hope this guide has been helpful and informative, answering your most pressing questions about mobility scooters. These mobility vehicles can be a game changer for many, so carefully consider if you would benefit from using one.
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