Can I use my electric wheelchair on the road?

Powered Wheelchairs

Only certain types of mobility scooter and powered wheelchair can be used on the road and while you don’t need a licence to drive one, you may have to register it and get a ‘nil value’ tax disc. Mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs come in two categories:

  • ‘class 2 invalid carriages’ – these can’t be used on the road (except where there isn’t a pavement) and have a maximum speed of 4mph.
  • ‘class 3 invalid carriages’ – these can be used on the road, and have a maximum speed of 4mph off the road, and 8mph on the road.

Class 2 scooters do not need to be registered and they do not need a tax disc, however Class 3 wheelchairs do need to display a ‘nil value’ tax disc and be registered. You must also be over 14 to drive a Class 3 carriage.

To help you determine whether you wheelchair is a class 3 carriage or not, here are some helpful guidelines:

Class 3 Carriages need the following features:

  • a maximum unladen weight of 150 kilograms
  • a 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 able to operate as a hazard warning signal
  • an audible horn
  • a rear view mirror
  • an amber flashing light if it’s used on a dual carriageway

If you do want to take your wheelchair on the road, the maximum speed must be 8mph. Moreover, you must not use bus lanes, cycle lanes and motorways, and dual carriageways should be avoided if their speed limit is over 50mph. An amber flashing light must be used for visibility if you do decide to use a dual carriageway.

On footpaths and in pedestrian areas, all mobility scooters are allowed, so long as they do not exceed 4mph. All normal parking restrictions also apply to wheelchairs, so do bear this in mind when you’re out and about town.

We hope this information has been useful to you, and should you need any more guidelines, they are all available from the DVLA.