Are Mobility Scooters Road Legal?

By: G.F.

Have you ever wondered why only some scooters have DVLA (Driver Vehicle Licensing Authority) tax discs displayed or if they legally have to be insured? I have a medical condition that severely restricts my mobility and so last year my father and I looked into buying a mobility scooter to help me get around. The width of the scooter (to fit through doors) was the single most important feature when considering such a purchase.

We looked in a local newspaper advert section and having viewed a suitable model of scooter we purchased it second hand. A friend of mine who also owned a second hand one explained to me how to go about getting a DVLA tax disc although he had no insurance for his scooter. In order to get all the facts I looked at the www.gov.uk website for more information. This is what it says:

“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.”

This helped me establish that I owned a class 3 mobility scooter. I then looked at what it had to say about DVLA tax discs:

“You don’t need a licence to drive a mobility scooter or powered wheelchair, but you may have to register it and get a ‘nil value’ tax disc. You don’t need to register a class 2 invalid carriage and they don’t need a tax disc. You don’t have to pay vehicle tax for any mobility scooter or powered wheelchair, but you still need to register class 3 invalid carriages and display a ‘nil value’ tax disc. You must be 14 or over to drive a class 3 invalid carriage.”

The scooter I bought second hand came with no DVLA tax disc or registered keeper documents so I set about acquiring these necessary legal items. I went to the local DVLA office and with their assistance in filling the relevant forms my DVLA tax disc and pertinent documents were delivered to me within two weeks.

I also wanted to know the legality of mobility scooter insurance and this is what it says on www.gov.uk:

“You don’t need insurance for a mobility scooter or powered wheelchair, although it’s recommended.”

I live in a Sheltered Housing development and each such organisation has its own procedures regarding permission for storage, access to electrical power outlets and insurance. Although I already have the Housing Association`s house contents insurance their regulations required me to have specific insurance for my mobility scooter.

Various companies offer mobility scooter insurance with the best deals available on the internet and I purchased a policy this way. Recently my father and I sold my first mobility scooter and we bought a new one this time from a reputable company. I called the insurance company with the details of my new mobility scooter. There are still some months left on the original policy so I had to pay no more at this time and was sent an up to date insurance document.

Owing to the closure of DVLA offices throughout the UK, I had to contact them by telephone to see about registering and getting a tax disc for my new mobility scooter. These contact details are available on www.gov.uk:

“To register and apply for a nil value tax disc for a class 3 invalid carriage, complete form V55/4 for new vehicles, or V55/5 for used vehicles. You can get the forms from DVLA’s online ordering service. Send the completed form to DVLA Swansea, SA99 1BE.”

 

“Include evidence of the vehicle’s age (if available) and documents showing the keeper’s name and address.”

The DVLA require a Certificate of Newness to register a new mobility scooter. I contacted the company who sold me my new one and was told to contact the manufacturer for this important document. They were extremely helpful and sent me the original in the post as well as a copy by email.

“You can’t license your class 3 invalid carriage online or at Post Offices. Use the email service to contact DVLA about car tax and tax discs, SORN and vehicle registration.
Contact DVLA if you’ve applied for a tax disc and it hasn’t arrived – you’ll need your reference number.”

Telephone: 0300 790 6802
Fax: 0300 123 0798
Textphone: 18001 0300 123 1279
Lines open: Monday to Friday, 8am to 7pm
Saturday, 8am to 2pm
Find out about call charges
Or write to:
Vehicle Customer Services
DVLA
Swansea
SA99 1AR

Personally I would recommend insurance for any class of powered wheelchair or mobility scooter and ensure it includes cover (as most policies do) for accidental damage and public liability. This gives me peace of mind wherever my wheels take me.

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