Session 2009-10, 7 April 2010
Publication of Report
Government must take action following consultation on the use of mobility scooters, says Parliamentary watchdog
The Government must act on the findings of its consultation on mobility scooters, says the Transport Select Committee.¹ In the light of anecdotal accounts of accidents involving the vehicles, but little hard evidence, MPs urge the Government's to collect better data on the use of scooters as well as incidents and injuries where they are involved. To develop sound policy, we need a comprehensive evidence base detailing the number and nature of incidents involving mobility scooters on the UK's pavements and roads. Only by doing so, will issues such as the legal status of mobility scooters, the appropriateness of proficiency tests and the rights of users to take the vehicles on public transport be adequately addressed.
The Committee's report notes that the Department for Transport has launched a consultation on many of these issues, but is concerned that after a similar review in 2005, Ministers failed to act on many of its findings. With a growing number of mobility scooter users on the UK's pavements and roads, the MPs call on the Government to take decisive action where necessary.
Launching the report, Committee Chair Louise Ellman said, "Increasingly, mobility scooters are a vital aid for many people in the UK. We welcome the independence that these vehicles can give people to go about their daily lives. However, we are concerned about the many reported accidents and injuries involving the scooters. The Government does not have adequate data on either how many mobility scooters are currently in use or on the number and type of accidents in which they might be involved. We welcome the Department's current consultation on mobility scooters but, unlike the previous review in 2005, the Government must act on its conclusions."
¹ The legal status of mobility scooters is defined in "The use of invalid carriages on highways regulations 1988", and in rules 36-46 of the Highway Code. There are two classes of powered mobility scooters:
Class 2 vehicles are designed to be used on pavements only, except when crossing from one side of the road to another, are limited to 4 mph, and must weigh no more than 113.4kg. DfT's 2006 report found that 19% of class 2 scooters were used on the roads 'every day'.
Class 3 vehicles can be used on roads, are limited to 8 mph, and must weigh no more than 150 kg. There is some question as to whether the 4 mph limit on pavements is enforceable to class 3 scooters that have the capacity to travel at 8 mph. Class 3 vehicles are required to be registered with the DVLA, but there is no penalty for failing to do so. 25,000 were registered as of 31 December 2008, although the true total of vehicles used is likely to be significantly higher.