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 footways or footpaths. Class 3 vehicles are those with an upper speed limit of 8mph (12 km/h) and are equipped to be used on the road as well as footways or footpaths.
When you are on the road you should obey the guidance and rules for other vehicles; when on the footway or footpath you should follow the guidance and rules for pedestrians.
On footways or footpaths
Footways or footpaths are safer than roads and should be used when available. You should give pedestrians priority and show consideration for other footway or footpath 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 footways or footpaths or in pedestrian areas. You may need to reduce your speed to adjust to other footway or footpath users who may not be able to move out of your way quickly enough or where the footway or footpath is too narrow.
Law MV(IC)R reg 4
When moving off the footway or footpath 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 footway or footpath, 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.
On the road
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 footway or footpath when it is available. When there is no footway or footpath, you should use caution when on the road. Class 2 users should, where possible, travel in the direction of the traffic as this is safer. If you are travelling at night, when lights MUST be used, you should travel in the direction of the traffic to avoid confusing other road users.
Law MV(IC)R 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 be able to 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 MV(IC)R 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 footway or footpath and cross the road between the footways or footpaths where it is safe to do so. Class 3 users should switch the vehicle to the lower speed limit when on footways or footpaths
If the junction is too hazardous, it may be worth considering an alternative route. Similarly, when negotiating major roundabouts (with two or more lanes) it may be safer for you to use the footway or footpath 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 other dual carriageways (see rule 220).
Laws RO Art 20(1), (3) & (4), & RVLR regs 20(1) & 29