Can I use my mobility scooter in shops?

QTvan mobility scooter caravan

Around 300,000 people in the UK rely on a mobility scooter to lead an independent life and that includes using it for shopping trips. Most large shops and supermarkets make good provision for mobility scooters and some even have scooters of their own that you can borrow.

By law all shops must be accessible but you may find that narrow aisles make manoeuvring your scooter a challenge.

Are tandem mobility scooters legal in the UK?

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

Tandem mobility scooters are not yet legal to use in the UK

What is a type 3 mobility scooter?

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. You must be 14 or over to drive a class 3 invalid carriage.

Class 3 mobility scooters need to be registered with the DVLA. To register a class 3 mobility scooter, complete form V55/4 for new vehicles, or V55/5 for used vehicles. You are not permitted to use bus lanes, cycle lanes or motorways.

Do mobility scooters need an MOT?

Mobility scooters don’t need an MOT but the law requires that class 3 mobility scooters have the following features:

  • maximum weight of 150 kg (without you on it)
  • maximum width of 0.85 metres
  • a speed setting for 4 mph (for pavements and other off-road areas)
  • maximum speed of 8 mph
  • brakes that work (the brakes on a scooter are on until you pull the ‘wig-wag’ lever to drive the scooter)
  • front and rear lights
  • indicators
  • hazard lights
  • a horn
  • a rear view mirror
  • an amber flashing light (if used on a dual carriageway)

Who is allowed to use a mobility scooter?

You can only drive a mobility scooter or powered wheelchair if you have trouble walking because of an injury, physical disability or medical condition.

Do mobility scooters pay tax (vehicle excise duty)?

You don’t have to pay road tax for any mobility scooter or powered wheelchair, but you still have to register class 3 mobility scooters with the DVLA.

Do I need insurance for my mobility scooter?

It’s not a legal requirement to have insurance for a mobility scooter, but you might find yourself liable in the event of a collision so it is recommended. Fully comprehensive mobility scooter insurance from the ETA offers peace of mind and costs only £65 for a year’s cover.

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 £2m third party cover to protect you against claims for injury or damage sustained to others, or their property, caused whilst using your mobility scooter or powered chair, all policies also include personal accident cover up to £20,000.

Can you buy mobility scooter breakdown cover?

You can buy breakdown cover for a mobility scooter in the same way as you can for a car. If you break down, or your battery runs flat while you are out and about, the ETA will send a suitable recovery vehicle to come to your aid. Our rescue teams are available 24/7, 365 days a year, so no matter where you breakdown in Britain, you can rest assured that help is at hand. We’ll arrange to get you and your mobility scooter home, or to a specialist repair shop the same day. One year’s mobility scooter breakdown cover costs just £39.

The ethical choice

The ETA was established in 1990 as an ethical provider of green, reliable travel services. Over 30 years on, we continue to offer cycle insurance , breakdown cover  and mobility scooter insurance while putting concern for the environment at the heart of all we do.

The Good Shopping Guide judges us to be the UK’s most ethical provider.


  1. Thomas Lankester


    So Class 3 mobility scooters cannot be used in cycle lanes.
    How about cycle tracks (eg off-carriageway hybrid cycle tracks)?
    Pedestrians are legally allowed to walk on cycle tracks so it would be discriminitory for a ban on mobility scooters.
    And if a Class 3 mobility scooter was on a cycle track, it would be better off going at 8mph rather than 4mph to reduce the speed differential with cycles.

    Similar question for shared use paths where cyclists woudl frequently be traveling at 12mph so limiting Class 3 to 4mph here seems perverse.

  2. malcolm bourn


    As a mobility scooter user I’m frustrated that an electric scooter user Is allowed to do 35 mph and I can only do 8 mph ! Are they saying that I’m incapable of coping with 35mph ? Seems desrimatory to me ?

  3. Jane Ayton


    Has the local Council a duty to make sure pavements are in a reasonable state for mobility scooters to use and wide enough for access?

  4. Patricia Wilson


    I totally agree and I cannot understand why mobility scooters should not be allowed to use cycle lanes and yes cycles can go alot faster than most mobility scooters so why pick on the mobility scooter when on my travels I have seen many cycles wizz along cycle paths alot faster than I could go and it don’t stop ppl walking in the cycle path also some cycle paths are often wider than footpath and we have to deal with in even surfaces and tree roots and they get a nice smooth path.

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