Three types of powered wheelchairs and mobility scooters (called invalid carriages in law) are defined in The Use of Invalid Carriages on Highways Regulations 1988
Means an invalid carriage which is not mechanically propelled
Means a mechanically propelled invalid carriage, which is so constructed or adapted as to be incapable of exceeding a speed of 4 mph on the level under its own power.
These are only suitable for riding on footpaths and roads and have a top speed of 4 mph (6 km/h).
The unladen weight of a Class 1 or Class 2 invalid carriage must not exceed 250lb (113.4 kg).
Means a mechanically propelled invalid carriage which is so constructed or adapted as to be capable of exceeding a speed of 4 mph (6 km/h) but incapable of exceeding a speed of 8 mph on the level under its own power.
These are suitable for riding on roads and have a top speed of 8 mph
(12 km/h). The unladen weight of a Class 3 invalid carriage must not exceed 330 lb (150 kg). These also have a switch to limit the top speed to
4 mph (6 km/h) for use on pavements or footpaths.
A Class 3 vehicle is not legally defined as a motor vehicle and the user
does not need to have a driving licence or take a driving test. A Class 3
vehicle can only be used by a disabled person aged 14 or over, or by an
able-bodied person who is demonstrating a vehicle, training a disabled user, or taking a vehicle to or from a place for maintenance or repair.
There is one class of manual wheelchair (called a Class 1 invalid
carriage) and two classes of powered wheelchairs and powered
mobility scooters. Manual wheelchairs and Class 2 vehicles are those
with an upper speed limit of 4 mph (6 km/h) and are designed to be
used on pavements. Class 3 vehicles are those with an upper speed
limit of 8 mph (12 km/h) 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.
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 (6 km/h) 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.
[Law UICHR 1988 reg 4]
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.
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 (12 km/h) 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.
[Law UICHR 1988 reg 9]
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.
[Law UICHR 1988 reg 9]
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 ‘other information’) 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 (80 km/h) 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). [Laws RTRA sect 17(2) & (3), & RVLR reg 17(1) & 26]