Tandem mobility scooters are illegal – we’d like to know why

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.

We wrote to the Department for Transport to ask why and this is what they said:

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 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 – we’ll even pay up to £100 to get the puncture repaired.

For added reassurance, every policy includes £2m 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.

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. John Ryder


    Tandem Scooters should be allowed for couples where one or both have a disability that requires a scooter, and where one cannot drive one. It would be a lifeline for many.

  2. B. Hill


    My elderly parents for years holidayed in the Canaries, where my Mum could happily and legally drive my Dad – who could not walk any distance – around on a two seater. They loved it and it has kept them young and independent for a decade longer than I’d have predicted. Every time they came back they were sad and complained that they could not do the same in the UK. It’s a profoundly silly, outdated law that is I suspect the result of various industries lobbying to keep things as they want them to be – as is the prohibition on the able-bodied using them, since at a time of increasing city-centre pedestrianisation they could play a major part in reducing road danger and cutting emissions. I have already broached this with other groups and am up for helping to build a coalition to get it changed (i.e. harmonised with more sensible countries).

  3. Peter Kinnear


    Surely not a large amount of work to amend the Act to include tandems; all other particulars re speed, construction, etc., are the same.
    Case of reminding certain folk in the government departments that they are there to serve us, the public?
    What’s the phrase I’m looking for?… Oh, yes–‘It’s a no-brainer, surely?’

  4. Pat Richardson


    It would be great for a couple as they cant meep up with the one on the scooter
    But, might as well join, mobility scooter, kids on scooter families on bikes, youth and grown ups on fast electric bikes, vehicles on pavenents.
    And I have to walk in the road, why they all pass,
    I was nearly knocked down by a mobility scooter never heard it behing me, it did slightly bumped me, and I was shouted at for not watching where I was going on the pavement.
    I feel sorry and get upset for people with bli d dogs and blind people.
    I think.it should be stopped.
    Seems to.me as everything has took over the pavements except the predestrians, what pavements were made for.
    But I dont see anybody tryi g to get it stopped, Goverments wont build proper cycle routes, when they have pavements to do it for them

  5. chris king


    double seat should be aloud for a disabled person and carer etc its not breaking any other rules, its still a mobility sxooter
    invalid well that shows how old that law is and invalid is not acceptable very offense,

    to any persons who want votes help the disabled

  6. David Coe


    This would be very usefull to me as my Wife is also disabled and unable to cope with a mobility scooter on her own. At the moment we are housebound, it would enable me to take her out and give us some of our life back.
    Also it would be very usefull for mobility scooters to be able to legally tow trailers. I could then tow my wife in her wheelchair without the need for a dual seat scooter.

  7. Sandy McQueen


    A tandem mobility scooter would be very beneficial. I cannot walk far at all. But I also struggle to drive any distance on a mobility scooter because of carpul tunnel and neck problems. It would be very beneficial to have a seat for a carer who could take over the driving. Carers generally will not walk with a moblity scooter for more than a mile in total as they have so many people to attend to in one day – so these issues restrict me to within half a mile of home. 🙁 Such a shame when there is a 3 miles of joined-up parks at the end of my street which are mobility scooter accessible.

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