According to government guidelines you do not need a licence to drive a powered wheelchair, but you may have to register it. Only certain types can be driven on the road.
In this blog, we give you some great information from the government’s website with regard to a powered wheelchair.
Powered wheelchairs come in 2 categories:
- Class 2: these cannot be used on the road (except where there is no pavement) and have a maximum speed of 4mph
- Class 3: these can be used on the road and have a maximum speed of 4mph off the road and 8mph on the road
You do not need to register for a class 2 powered wheelchair, but you must register for a class 3 powered wheelchair.
You must be 14 or over to drive a class 3 powered wheelchair.
Rules for class 3 powered wheelchair
Class 3 are the only types of powered wheelchairs that can be used on the road. They must have the following features:
- the maximum unladen weight of 150kg (or a maximum unladen weight of 200kg when carrying necessary user equipment, for example, medical supplies)
- maximum width of 0.85 metres
- a device to limit its speed to 4mph
- a maximum speed of 8mph
- an efficient braking system
- front and rear lights and reflectors
- direction indicators available to operate as a hazard warning signal
- an audible horn
- a rearview mirror
- an amber flashing light if it’s used on a dual carriageway
(You could be stopped by the police if your class 3 powered wheelchair does not have these features.)
Driving on the road
You can only drive on the road in a class 3 powered wheelchair. The max speed is 8mph. You cannot drive on bus lanes, ‘cycle only;’ lanes or motorways. Avoid using dual carriageways with a speed limit of over 50mph.
You must use an amber flashing light for visibility if you use a class 3 mobility scooter on a dual carriageway.
Following the Highway Code is key if you drive your powered wheelchair on the road.
Driving on footpaths and parking
All powered wheelchairs can legally travel at a max of 4mph on footpaths or in pedestrian areas. Remember you cannot drive any type of mobility scooter on cycle paths marked ‘cycle only’.
All normal parking restrictions apply to powered wheelchairs. Your vehicle should not be left on a footpath or pedestrian area on its own if it gets in the way of other pedestrians, including wheelchair users and people with prams or pushchairs.
There is no legal eyesight requirement to drive a powered wheelchair, but you should be able to read a car’s registration number from a distance of 12.3 metres (40 feet).
Check your eyesight regularly to make sure you can still do this.
You might have to pay compensation if you have an accident and poor eyesight was part of the cause.
Who can use them
You can only drive a powered wheelchair if you:
- have trouble walking because of an injury, physical disability or medical condition
- are demonstrating the vehicle before it’s sold
- are training a disabled user
- are taking the vehicle to or from maintenance to repair
Vehicle tax, registration and insurance
You do not have to pay vehicle tax for any powered wheelchair if it’s registered as class 3. Check with the seller when buying your powered wheelchair whether it’s registered as a class 3 vehicle.
Change the owner’s details when you buy a powered wheelchair
When you buy a powered wheelchair, the seller will make you the ‘registered keeper’. This means the vehicle will be in your name. You’ll get a new vehicle log book (V5C) in the post within 4 weeks of the sale.
Fill in an ‘Application for a vehicle registration certificate‘ (V62) and send it to DVLA if you do not get a new vehicle log book 4 weeks after the sale.
Change your name or address
If you need to change your name or address, fill in section 6 of your vehicle log book and send it to DVLA.
If your powered wheelchair is not a registered vehicle
Most wheelchairs will be already registered by the dealer or manufacturer before you buy them.
If your vehicle is not registered, register it by filling in the following forms:
If you would like more info on our powered wheelchair hire or powered wheelchair to purchase, contact us today. Our friendly team are waiting to answer any questions.