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Mobility Scooter Licenses: Can You Drive A Mobility Scooter on the Road?

can you drive a mobility scooter on the road?

Mobility scooters can be a life-changing device. If you are thinking about buying one, it is quite possible you’ve been craving more independence in your daily life. Feeling restricted can be frustrating, but gone are the days of yore when available options were severely limited to just one or two devices. 

People who use mobility scooters consistently report a stronger sense of independence. Their increase in popularity in recent years is testament to what a difference they can make on someone’s life. However, it is worth noting that scooters are motorized vehicles and that there are certain considerations that should be taken into account before buying and driving one.

If you are reading this, you are probably considering buying your first mobility scooter, so there’s a chance you are wondering whether you will need to obtain a special scooter license or if it's legal to drive a 4-wheel scooter on the street. In this article, we will go over these and other questions you might be asking yourself. As you will see, there is no need to stress out! This short guide will help you clear everything up so you can use one with safety and ease. 

Please note that there might be specific regulations dispositions that his article doesn’t contemplate: when in doubt, it is always a good idea to check with the authorities or local board. Mobility scooters are becoming an increasingly common mobility device, so it is likely they will already have existing rules in place. The answers you will find on this article will however apply to most if not all of the US, so 

Can you Drive a Scooter on the Road?

driving a mobility scooter on the road

The most common question first time mobility scooter buyers ask is if they should or are expected to drive their scooter on the road. You might also be wondering the same: should you drive on the sidewalk or join the cars speeding by on the road? Though the rules may vary from place to place, the short answer to these questions is that most mobility devices are not legally allowed on roads: they’re instead designed to function as pedestrian means of transportation. This means that, despite riding a scooter, you will also be seen as a pedestrian in the eyes of the law. In short, you should not drive on the road, but on the sidewalk. 

The same rules that apply to pedestrians will apply to you and your scooter. You should use sidewalks whenever they are available, while remembering to exercise caution and consideration to walkers, as some of them will possibly go at a slower pace than your scooter. Don't rush whenever you are on a sidewalk with people, there's no need to go faster than pedestrians around you! Rather than thinking about your mobility scooter as a vehicle, think of it as a walking assistive device: try to maintain a speed that’s adequate for a sidewalk. Remember to exercise the same criteria as you would if you were walking, so be aware of crosswalks, traffic lights, pedestrian signals, and passing vehicles. 

Unfortunately not all neighborhoods are pedestrian friendly. It is possible you will come across areas that just don't have any sidewalks available. Though the rules might change from place to place, most will allow you to drive your scooter on the road when this happens. If in doubt, check what pedestrians around you are doing: if they are cautiously walking on the road, chances are you will be able to do the same. Check with the local government or neighborhood association if you are still unsure of what to do. 

Finally, please remember that you should not attempt to ride your mobility scooter on bike lanes. These have been specially designed for bicycles and driving a mobility scooter in them will most likely be illegal. There is also the matter of safety to consider! Bikes can go by extremely fast and expect to find no obstacles when riding on bike lanes. You could injure yourself or others if you attempt to drive there. 

mobility scooter licenses

Where Can I Buy a Street Legal Mobility Scooter

Scooters ‘N Chairshas a wide range of legalmobility scootersfor whatever your needs. From heavy-duty mobility scooters like theMerits Pioneer 10and the AfiScooter C3, to portable and lightweight scooters that are perfect for travel, such as thePride Go-Go Elite Traveller or theEW M34 Lightweight Travel Scooter, you are sure to find one that is just right for you. 

If affordability is your main concern, there are also several budget-friendly options available, like theMerits Roadster 3 or the Pride Go-Go ES2. Check out themobility scooters availableat Scooters ‘N Chairs to find the one that best suits your needs and budget. Check the different product specifications to make sure you choose a mobility scooter that is just right for you. 

What Kind of License do you Need for a Scooter? 

If you are looking into buying your first mobility scooter or researching the best model for a loved one, you might be wondering if a license is necessary to drive and just what kind of license might be needed. If so, you are definitely not alone. This is one of the most common questions first time buyers have. 

Despite being motorized, mobility scooters are considered a form of assistive device, which places them in a unique category. Vehicles able to go at a faster speed than 3-5 miles per hour will most likely require a license, so, what happens with mobility scooters? The good news is that the answer to this question is actually pretty straightforward: you don't need any type of license whatsoever. This means that you also won’t need to take any sort of test.

Mobility scooters are considered pedestrian transportation, and are not in the same category as recreational vehicles. Larger and/or faster road-legal scooters will require a specific license, but this is not the case with the mobility scooters you can purchase at the Scooters ‘N Chairs website. You can legally drive one (remember, on the sidewalk!) as soon as you buy one. 

What Kind of Scooter Does not Require a License?

mobility scooters do not require licenses

While moped and motorcycle-type scooters require a driver’s license, this is not the case with mobility scooters. Most will not go faster than 3-5 miles per hour and are therefore not subjected to the same rules and regulations as recreational vehicles, so there is no need to register the vehicle with the local vehicle department or take any test to drive them. You can rest assured that none of the mobility scooter models you'll find atScooters 'N Chairsrequire a driver's license. 

It is also worth noting that while any new owner should practice before taking it out to the sidewalk, mobility scooters do not have the learning curve that mopeds or motorcycles ones do. They are extremely stable, which means that they are easy to use whether one has previous experience or not. They have been explicitly designed with first time users in mind. 

However, the fact that mobility scooters do not require a license like mopes do doesn’t mean they can’t look just as cool! Models like theE-W72 Off Road Mobility Scooter capture the style of a recreational vehicle while being accessible and safe for older or disabled people. 

Do I Need a License Plate for my Mobility Scooter?

Mobility scooters are increasingly popular amongst the elderly and disabled or mobility-impaired individuals. A common question many people ask is whether they need to add a visible license plate to their scooter or not. While driving a mobility scooter does come with responsibilities, such as being cautious around pedestrians and following the same rules that would apply to someone on foot, you don’t need a license plate to take them out. This means that you can start driving yours as soon as you receive your mobility scooter, without worrying about additional paperwork or waiting for a plate to arrive. 

Can you Drive A Mobility Scooter While Drunk?

Independently of what your local regulation may say, you should never operate any type of vehicle while intoxicated. Drunk-driving is dangerous both to yourself and those around you: this is common sense that should be applied whether on a mobility scooter, a wheelchair, a cart, a horse or whatever you choose to ride. Mobility scooters can be quite sturdy and at 4 or 5 mph, they can cause serious damage if you hit someone. 

Some mobility scooters are extremely easy to fold and can fit into almost any car. If you are thinking about going out for a drink, plan accordingly. You can book a taxi to take you back home to ensure you keep yourself and others safe. That great thing is that there are now several models that have been designed specifically with the sociable and outgoing user in mind.