Why are tandem mobility scooters illegal?

tandem mobility scooters

Tandem mobility scooters are no different from a conventional driver-only model, other than their stretched chassis and additional seat. However, they are not currently legal to use on British roads or pavements.

According to the Department for Transport:

Tandem mobility scooters cannot legally be used on pavements or roads in Britain. In law, a mobility scooter and a powered wheelchair are both considered to be an ‘invalid carriage’, defined under the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970. The specific definition is: Section 20 (2) “invalid carriage” means a vehicle, whether mechanically propelled or not, constructed or adapted for use for the carriage of one person, being a person suffering from some physical defect or disability.

Tandem mobility scooters: Invaluable lifeline for older couples

It seems obvious why tandem mobility scooters can be so useful for older couples – especially when one person is no longer able to operate a scooter on their own – and yet the Department does not have any plans to amend the legislation to make them lawful.

We’d like to help get the law changed if we can. If you would be happy to provide us with a case study – by telling your own story about how a tandem mobility scooter would help you – please get in touch by leaving a comment at the bottom of this page. No need to leave contact details as we’ll be able to see your email address without it becoming public.


What type of mobility scooter is legal?

There are two categories of mobility scooter. Class 2 mobility scooters can’t be used on the road (except where there isn’t a pavement) and have a maximum speed of 4 mph. This type of mobility scooter does not need to be registered. Class 3 mobility scooters can be used on the road, and have a maximum speed of 4 mph off the road, and 8 mph on the road.

A report commissioned by the Department for Transport found that many suppliers of mobility scooters fail to inform their customers of the legal requirement to register these larger class 3 scooters with the DVLA. To register a class 3 mobility scooter, complete form V55/4 for new vehicles, or V55/5 for used vehicles.

Insurance for mobility scooters

Fully comprehensive mobility scooter insurance from the ETA  represents excellent value for money. For more information please call us on 01932 828 882 or click here

The policy includes everything you need to keep you moving should your mobility scooter be stolen, vandalised or damaged accidentally. At no extra cost, you also benefit from breakdown cover to take you home if your mobility scooter suffers a flat battery, mechanical fault or puncture.

For added reassurance, every policy includes £5m third party cover to protect you against claims for injury or damage caused while using your mobility scooter or powered chair. And should you be unfortunate enough to crash your scooter, our insurance policy includes personal accident cover up to £20,000.


  1. Jehosophat


    Both parents in late 80’s, Dad physically frail and immobile, unable to drive or go out alone. Mum has been his ‘taxi’ and carer for well over a decade, but will soon give up their car as she acknowledges her driving is deteriorating. My sibling and I live some distance away. She quite rightly is afraid to leave him alone for any length of time.
    For over twenty years until it recently became too difficult they holidayed in Spain and *hired and used two seater mobility scooters* without problems. We all know this is the ideal solution for them.
    She can get a mobility scooter for her but he needs chauffeuring. Hence their joint situation means they are about to lose all real autonomy. If two seaters were permitted this would not happen. At a time cities everywhere are wanting to reduce average speeds, it is incoherent and inhumane.

  2. Anne Russell


    Both my husband and I are disabled to different extents. It would be great to use one scooter if we’re both going to the same place, rather than two, taking up the pavement and using twice the battery power. Finding places to park, and the expense of purchasing two scooters is also something to be considered.

  3. Mike


    Its a no from me I am afraid to say, the pavements do not work for any style of Tandem Mobility Scooters especially for turning corners etc. We originally imported the Gemini scooter into the UK in the late 90’s and people could see the benefits on it however with the UK infrastructure for pavements etc etc it just simply would not work and was dangerous for both the user and other pedestrians. There have been plenty of debates on this over the last 20 years , the infrastructure in reality will not allow these units to be used safely, hence only used on private grounds

  4. Lin Williams


    At the moment, I am able to drive the two of us about. A time will come when I have to give up my car. A two seater scooter would be the obvious solution, but I know they are illegal. I have thought a bariatric scooter would work, but it is far from ideal.
    I can see a problem with safely getting a tandem around a shop and I could see them not being practical from that point of view.
    Many moons ago I used to drive one of those blue invalid tricycles – we called them Noddy cars. They were unreliable death traps and tipped over very easily. However, they kept you relatively dry and had space for a folded wheelchair inside. Carrying a passenger was illegal, but possible if they were brave enough.
    So my ideal solution would be a small underpowered electric vehicle with space for a folded wheelchair and a passenger. Maybe a street legal golf buggy would suffice? As long as I don’t need a driving licence it’ll be OK for me.
    This all comes down to changing vehicle classifications. I can see this type of vehicle being popular outside the mobility community as well.

  5. David


    I have two elderly parents both living together in assisted living, my dad is 6 months away from being 100 and my mum is 96 who has vascular dementia.. my dad is still very mentally well and has very good health apart from oedema in the ankles which makes it hard for him to walk to the local shops. A twin seated scooter would be ideal for them as there is not a moment they are separated mainly due to the stress it caused my mum.

  6. John Allsop


    I drove a car and SUV for many years. I am now 83 and gave up the car a few years ago but I am very able to drive a mobility scooter. Unfortunatly my wife who is 85 can,t drive a scooter owing to her disabilities and here on the Isles of Scilly a tandem scooter would be ideal but because of this silly law she has to stay in the house most of the time. The people who won,t change the law to allow a two seat scooter don,t have the need for one, many of us DO NEED a two seat scooter, the law must be changed. Two scooters one behind the other is ok, join them together and it,s illegal.

  7. Eli Koumbas


    I am 82 years of age and suffer with arthritis (and have done for some years now) I have had one knee replacement and am awaiting another. I cannot walk more than a few yards without feeling pain and my mobility is getting worse. My wife is 77 years of age and suffers arthritic pains even more severe than I and it would be a great help if we were able to use a tandem scooter. We recently took a holiday in Tenerife and were delighted with the use of such vehicles there. I am a competent driver whilst my wife is afraid to take control. Therefore, I think it is quite unfair to be restricted by a law which does not even recognize the obvious difficulties such a restriction places upon many (I’m sure) elderly folk.

  8. Rita Stapleton


    I cannot see why a Sinclair C5 was considered a legal vehicle despite its multiplicity of dubious safety issues yet a tandem mobility scooter is allowed on neither road nor pavement. Stability and manoeuvrability issues are obviously paramount to ensure safety of riders and the public. Kerb mounting and road turning to the right on roads where heavy goods vehicles are common are significant to all mobility scooters re safety and stability and probably more so with tandem scooters. Nevertheless, as cycling lanes are vaunted often to the detriment of other vehicles it seems singularly against the spirit of equal opportunities legislation that this facility is impossible for the majority of disabled people to use – especially those of advancing years who may have cycled when younger.
    This inequity could be redressed by allowing tandem scooters in cycle lanes and parks at least to establish their safety. Elderly couples and a disabled parent with a young child, there are many scenarios where such a vehicle would offer ‘normal’ opportunities that circumstances otherwise preclude. Many schools have roads closed for some distance around the local area. A disabled parent therefore has to rely on others to take child to school when this would allow independence.
    My husband and I are both able to drive, but the time will come when we cannot. As has been cited in another post, why double up on batteries and charging power etc with two vehicles. I look forward to a change in the law.

  9. Kathy Wardley


    My husband had a motability car because of not being able to walk very far. we had the cars for years then my husband lost most of his sight so the car went back – I do not drive.
    My husband is now stuck at home 24/7 except when transport people com e to take him to hospital etc.
    A tandem scooter would make his life so much better as he would be able to get out and interact with people other than just myself.
    We live in an area where there is a walkway. No roads just a pathway between trees. To be able to take Ray along there would be wonderful but also if they could be used legally on the pavements then I could take him into town – his world would open up again.
    Ray will be 75 in March and I just turned 73.

  10. Bernadette Campbell


    We wanted to buy a tandem mobility scooter for my mum. She has a small walking stroller which is fine for her walking to my car and back, but I wanted to take her holiday and thought that this would be ideal as I had also seen them in Tenerife, I was annoyed to hear that they were illegal here in the U.K. I am reading the other comments and my heart is breaking for the people stuck in the house due to sight or mobility reasons. So many peoples lives would change for the better if these were legal. Fingers crossed the law changes.

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