Owning a Mobility Scooter and the Law
A mobility scooter can help you get around safely if you can’t drive or choose not to drive. If the local shops, library or church are too far to walk, a scooter could get you there. If you use a scooter, or you’re thinking about getting one in the future.
• Safely using a scooter
• How the law affects scooter users
• How to look after your scooter.
You don’t need a licence to use a scooter. And your scooter doesn’t need a warrant of fitness or registration. However, the law says you must do the following things.
• You must ride your scooter in a careful and considerate way. • You must ride it on the footpath whenever possible. • If there’s no footpath, you must keep close to the side of the road.
• You must travel on the footpath at a speed that is safe for other people.
• You must not ride (or let anyone else ride) in a way that could cause injury to you or others.
• You must not let anyone else stand or sit on your scooter while you’re using it.
• If you are involved in a crash, you must stop to see if anyone is hurt. You must help anyone who is hurt. And you must report the crash to the police within 24 hours. You shouldn’t ride your scooter if you could be affected by: alcohol , drugs or any medication you are taking. If you’re taking any medication, it’s important to talk with your doctor or pharmacist about how your driving may be affected. For more information about the effects of medication on driving, visit www.nzta.govt.nz/medication
Before you buy a scooter, you should make sure you have the skills to use it safely. Ask yourself these questions.
• Can I judge distances well?
• Do I have good eyesight (with or without glasses)?
• Do I react quickly when something unexpected happens?
• Can I hear well (with or without a hearing aid)?
• Can I look from left to right, and back from right to left, without any problems?
• Am I able to handle a motorised vehicle safely?
It’s a good idea to check with your doctor before you buy a scooter. If you’ve lost your driver licence because of eyesight or hearing problems, you probably shouldn’t use a scooter. And if you answered ‘no’ to any of the questions above, you should definitely check with your doctor first.
What does ‘riding considerately’ mean?
The law says you must ride your scooter in a ‘considerate’ way. This means that you must watch out for other people using the road or footpath and think about their safety. For example:
• Don’t travel faster than other people around you. This is especially important if you’re using your scooter in a crowded place. On a busy footpath, people may not be able to get out of your way easily.
• Watch out for children. They might suddenly run out in front of you.
• If you’re travelling slowly, keep well to the left so that others can get past.
• Watch out for elderly people, and people who may not be able to see or hear you easily. If you use a horn, try not to startle other pedestrians.
• If you stop to talk to someone, turn off the controls, otherwise your scooter could be accidentally knocked forward, and you could hit someone. What happens if you break the law?
• You could be fined if you ride your scooter carelessly, inconsiderately or at a dangerous speed. The fine may be higher if you do any of these things more than once.
• If you cause a crash where someone is killed or hurt, you could be charged with ‘careless or inconsiderate use of a motor vehicle’. You could face a severe fine or even a prison sentence.