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Class 2 and Class 3 Mobility Scooters

Class 2 and Class 3 Mobility Scooters

Class and size

Firstly, think about the class and size of mobility scooter you want.

Ask yourself:

  • Why do I want a scooter?
  • Where do I want to use it?
  • Will I need to use it on the road?
  • How far will I need to go, on an average trip?
  • Do I want to take it with me in the car, or on public transport?
  • Where will I store it?

Answering these questions can help you decide whether you want a class 2 or a class 3 scooter.

In law, mobility scooters are divided into class 2 and class 3 vehicles based on where they’re intended to be used.


Class 2 mobility scooters

Class 2 mobility scooters can only be used on footpaths, pavements, and when crossing roads. They have a maximum speed of 4mph (6.4kph).

Key features of class 2 scooters:

  • can be used indoors
  • small, lightweight and compact
  • basic driving controls
  • some can be dismantled or folded up to fit into a car boot
  • shorter battery life means they travel shorter distances


Class 3 mobility scooters

Class 3 mobility scooters can be used on roads and pavements. The maximum speed limit of these vehicles is 4mph on the pavement and 8mph (12.8kph) on the road. You must be 14 years old or over to drive a class 3 vehicle.

Key features of class 3 scooters:

  • for outdoor use
  • large and robust
  • equipped with a rear-view mirror and reflectors, plus extra controls for driving on roads: indicators, headlights, a horn and hazard lights
  • require a ramp or lift to get them into a vehicle
  • longer battery life and tougher tyres means they can travel longer distances


Size of mobility scooters

Mobility scooters vary in length, width and height, so ask yourself:

  • how big must your scooter be for you to sit on it comfortably?
  • will you have space to stretch out your legs?
  • where you will store your scooter?
  • where you will use it?

The scooter’s ‘turning radius’:

  • is related to its size
  • determines the amount of space the scooter needs to turn around completely

A small scooter with a small turning radius is easier to use indoors.

Scooters with three wheels have a smaller footprint and are easier to manoeuvre, but they may be less stable than four-wheelers.

There are often size and turning radius restrictions when travelling on public transport – see our Travelling with a mobility scooter section.

Car Search

Car Search

The RiDC’s unique car search has fact sheets showing measurements, photos and accessibility features of over 1,700 vehicles. 

You can search for:

  • features including seat heights, headroom, door openings and boot sizes
  • cars that can take an unfolded standard wheelchair  
  • cars which are available on the Motability scheme

Advanced car measurements

Quick search

By make

How the RiDC measure cars

Car search FAQs


Published: 9th March 2020

Source: RiDC

Page URL: https://www.ridc.org.uk/features-reviews/out-and-about/car-search

Driving a WAV

Driving a WAV

There are two types of wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) that can be driven by a person who uses a wheelchair: drive-from-wheelchair WAVs and internal-transfer WAVs. See the pros and cons below, based on our research with wheelchair users.

WAV user transferring inside to a swivel seat


Drive-from-wheelchair WAVs

Drive-from-wheelchair WAVs are becoming more common. The driving controls are adapted for you to operate from your wheelchair. Usually this means some form of hand controls, though other solutions are possible. 
Find out more with RiDC’s information about specialised car controls.

In a drive-from-wheelchair WAV, you need to be able to:

  • open the door
  • deploy the ramp or lift
  • get inside
  • secure yourself and your wheelchair without assistance

Most have hands-free entry systems – you push a button on a remote control to open the door and deploy the ramp or lift automatically. There will also be an automatic docking system to secure your wheelchair. All of this will be designed around you and your wheelchair as part of your assessment from an experienced mobility adviser – for example at a Mobility Centre.

This all means that drive-from-wheelchair WAVs are usually a lot more expensive than passenger WAVs.


Controls

All features of drive-from WAVs are powered, so you need to be able to use the remote control easily. Check:

  • Is the remote control comfortable to hold?
  • Do you prefer buttons or switches?
  • Will you be able to keep pressure on the button or switch?
  • Will you be able to use the button or switch accurately?

Safety

  • Because you may be travelling by yourself, make sure you will be able to get out in an emergency.
  • Drive-from-wheelchair WAVs are typically fitted with fail-safe devices for the doors, ramps/lifts and docking systems. These include battery backups and manual over-rides.
  • For added safety, it’s often a good idea to fit an automatic fire extinguishing system.

Other drivers

  • You will need to let others drive the vehicle from time to time.
  • In many drive-from-wheelchair WAVs, the front passenger seat can be moved over to the driver’s side, and there is a docking system on both sides so you can travel as a passenger.~

Assessment and training

  • If you’re going to use adapted controls, you may need a professional driving assessment and training.
  • You may need to have dual controls fitted to use when you’re training.
  • Your local Mobility Centre will be able to carry out the assessment and will also tell you about specialist driving instructors in your area.


Internal-transfer WAVs

Some wheelchair users prefer to transfer to a driving seat because they find it more comfortable or easier to drive. Sometimes it’s necessary to transfer because your wheelchair may not be suitable for driving (see also wheelchairs for WAVs). Using the standard car seat also means that you don’t need to fit a specialist seat belt.

By contrast, an internal-transfer system may not be suitable if you have a specialised seating system in your wheelchair.

WAVs can be adapted to allow you to enter with your wheelchair or scooter (by ramp or lift), secure the wheelchair or scooter in the vehicle, and then transfer to the driving seat. You can replace the standard car seat with one that swivels and slides so that you can transfer into it more easily.

Controls

All features of internal-transfer WAVs are powered, so you need to be able to use the remote controls easily.Check:

  • Is the remote control comfortable to hold?
  • Do you prefer buttons or switches?
  • Will you be able to keep pressure on the button or switch?
  • Will you be able to use the button or switch accurately?

Safety

  • You’ll need a mechanism for securing the wheelchair. You need to be able to operate this by yourself.
  • Because you may be travelling by yourself, you need to be sure you’ll be able to get out in an emergency.
  • For added safety, it’s often a good idea to fit an automatic fire extinguishing system.

Transferring

  • Transferring between the wheelchair and the seat does take some effort – make sure you can do it, even on a bad day.
  • Make sure there is enough room in the vehicle to let you transfer comfortably and that there are handholds and supports where you need them. You may need to fit extra hand rails or other supports.

Assessment and training

If you’re going to be using adapted controls, you may need a professional driving assessment and training.

You may need to have dual controls fitted to use when you’re training.

Your local Mobility Centre will be able to carry out the assessment and will also tell you about specialist driving instructors in your area.



Published: 5th March 2020

Source: RiDC

Page URL: https://www.ridc.org.uk/features-reviews/out-and-about/wheelchair-accessible-vehicles-wavs-0/driving-wav

Hoists for Wheelchair Users Getting into a Car

Hoists for Wheelchair Users Getting into a Car

A hoist can help you transfer from a wheelchair into a car.


Things to think about

Help is needed
Although hoists can in theory be used alone, in tests we carried out some years ago none of the disabled people who tried equipment out for us could use them without help.

To use a hoist without help, you need:

  • strength and dexterity
  • to be able to bend your head to duck under the car door frame
  • some upper-body control for balance
  • to be able to lift your feet over the car sill
  • to be able to remove and stow the detachable arm safely
  • to be able to pull the wheelchair in after you (alternatively, get a rooftop or other hoist fitted to help you do this – see our information on getting a wheelchair into a car)

Even with help, it can be difficult to use a hoist if you are stiff, have limited control, or are very tall or big.

Hoists may not be suitable if you have spasms: if your limbs jerk, you could hit them against the car.

Using a hoist on a steep hill can be more difficult because you may hang at an angle, which means more pushing is needed.

Some people feel there is a lack of dignity using hoists transferring and go for WAV instead

Comfort

This is a personal matter, and mostly depends on the size and shape of the sling.

  • You should sit upright or lean slightly backwards in the sling. Without enough support you may need to lean forward to balance, which can feel insecure.
  • If the sling is too low or too high you risk bumping into the car.
  • You may want to think about a sling that supports your neck and shoulders, or has extra fabric. You can buy a sling separately from the hoist, but it’s best to speak to your OT or a specialist before you do this.

Ease of use

If you can, try before you buy – hoist suppliers can demonstrate their products.
You need to be confident that you can use the hoist easily.
You’ll need to check both the hoist and the car you intend fitting it into to see if:

  • there is enough space between the car seat and the top of the door for you to swing in without having to bend your head and neck too much
  • the doors are wide enough
  • door sills are low and narrow enough for you to swing in without hitting them with your feet
  • protruding dashboards and winged car seats don’t get in the way
  • whoever helps you can manage the hoist

Our previous test of hoists suggested that smaller people who have no difficulty bending their head or neck could probably use any of the hoists tested in all but the smallest cars.
Larger people and people who are stiff needed more headroom and wider doors.

Fitting

  • To fit these hoists, a small mounting bracket is bolted to the car.
  • The main arm of the hoist then fits onto the bracket, and the spreader arm fits onto this.
  • The sling is attached to the spreader arms.
  • The arms can be removed when not being used, leaving just the bracket in place.

If you want to sell the car, you can remove the bracket, and use grommets to fill the holes.
The second-hand value of the car shouldn’t be affected if you have had a hoist fitted.

Which cars?

Hoists can be fitted to most cars. MPVs and two- and three-door cars have more room for a hoist, but most four- and five-door cars can be fitted with one.

Passenger’s or driver’s side?

All of the hoists in this guide can be fitted to either side of the car. However, they are not often used by drivers.


If you drive, check with a Mobility Centre to see if a hoist would be the best way for you to get into a car.


Using a hoist

1. Getting into the sling

  • The sling is a canvas seat – you sit on it and it lifts you in.
  • If transferring is difficult, it may be easier to sit on the sling on your wheelchair while still indoors.
  • Some people find they can slip the sling underneath more easily if they put a sheet of plastic or bubble wrap on each side.

2. Attaching the sling to the hoist

  • The sling needs to be attached to the ‘spreader’ arm of the hoist – you or a helper can do this.

3. Getting into the car

  • This can be difficult – you may have to duck under the door frame as you swing into the car.

Afterwards, the hoist’s arms must be removed and secured safely.

4. Getting out

  • You need to get the wheelchair in the right position, and then use the hoist to lower you on to the wheelchair.
  • You then need to detach and stow the arms.


Published: 5th March 2020

Source: RiDC

Page URL: https://www.ridc.org.uk/getting-and-out-car/hoists-wheelchair-users-getting-car

Special Assistance at Airports

Special Assistance at Airports

RiDC have been working with Which? on an investigation into what air travel is really like for disabled and older travellers. 

The panel members answered in their hundreds and it clearly struck a nerve. A full range of good and bad experiences of special assistance at a number of UK airports was received. 

The research

The research uncovered that there are far too many barriers for disabled and older people with restricted mobility to feel comfortable travelling. When it comes to special assistance it was clear that communication between the airlines and airports is failing a lot of travellers.

In September 2019, RiDC contacted their panel members by email and received 363 responses in total. Data published by Which? was about people’s satisfaction with five UK airports:

  1. Heathrow
  2. Manchester
  3. Luton
  4. Gatwick
  5. Stansted


Feedback was received about other smaller airports but the sample size was too small to draw any valid conclusions and was not published.

Click here to read the press release on the Which? website.

Practical guidance

Below you can read some practical guidance from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on what you to do when arranging special assistance and what to expect from a number of airlines and the main UK airports.

When to ask for assistance?

You need to ask for assistance either when you book or at least 48 hours before travel, whether it is through a travel agent, tour operator or airline. This information will then be passed to the airport and the service provider.

If you don’t give advance notice you could experience delays and may not receive the service that you need.

How do I request help?

It is up to you to find out how to request help. Airlines, travel agents and tour operators should provide a free method of requesting assistance when you book (or at later stage). You may be asked about about special assistance during the booking process but this isn’t standard practice so you may need to make a request.

If you are booking on a website, look out for a special assistance link for information on how to get the type of help that you need.

Your travel service provider may ask you to telephone them or their agent or complete a web form. Many airlines provide a Freephone or local rate number for you to call to notify them of your assistance needs. Some airlines also offer a free call-back option.

Request and keep written or printed confirmation of your assistance booking.

SPECIFIC GUIDANCE FROM AIRPORTS AND AIRLINES (CAA)

What can I ask for?

It is important that you are clear about the type of help that you need. This will help avoid delays and ensure that you receive appropriate support. Many airports also provide additional information tailored specifically to people with hidden disabilities.

This could include:

  • transfer from a designated point, such as car part or bus stop, to the terminal building
  • the use of an airport wheelchair to get to the gate
  • extra help getting through security searches
  • assistance with boarding the aircraft and getting seated
  • specific seats on the aircraft

Airlines will need to know:

  • you are taking an electric mobility aid (e.g. an electric wheelchair or mobility scooter)
  • your condition means that you need extra care and attention

Questions that you may wish to consider in advance include:

  • Are on-board wheelchairs available on all aircraft? These are used to move people to the toilet during the flight.
  • What are the walking distances to departure gates? Airports should provide this information on their websites.
  • Does the airport uses air bridges or steps for passengers to board aircraft?
  • The number and type of accessible toilets at the airport and on board aircraft.
  • What restrictions (e.g. safety, weight, space, battery type) apply to the carriage of electric mobility aids.
  • The airline’s policies on carriage of oxygen.
  • The airline’s policies in relation to compensating for damaged mobility equipment.
  • The types of seats available and how the airline allocates these.
  • Restrictions on medication at security searches (especially relating to liquids).


Published: 10th January 2020

Source: RiDC

Story URL: https://www.ridc.org.uk/news/special-assistance-airports

Using Mobility Scooters and Powered Wheelchairs on the Road

Using Mobility Scooters and Powered Wheelchairs on the Road

The requirements for people who use mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs to get around.

This guidance is for anyone using or thinking of using a mobility scooter or powered wheelchair.

It includes information about:

  • where you can use your mobility vehicle
  • taking mobility vehicles on public transport
  • insuring and registering mobility vehicles
  • legal requirements

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.


Published: 10th March 2020

Source: GOV UK

Page URL: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mobility-scooters-and-powered-wheelchairs-on-the-road-some-guidance-for-users