In order to maintain active and independent lives, some disabled people and senior citizens rely on mobility scooters to get around. There are a number of laws across the country in various jurisdictions regarding mobilized scooters. It is important to be mindful of area laws and regulations regarding electric scooters to reduce the risk of injury to oneself or another individual.
• Mobility scooters, as defined by the Federal Highway Administration (FHA), are “three- or four-wheel devices designed to provide mobility for individuals with limited endurance for walking or using a manual wheelchair. These scooters have a tiller for steering and a comfortable seat, usually with a back and armrests.” Furthermore, the FHA specifies that mobility scooters “rely on multiple batteries and can weigh up to 200 pounds. Braking is provided via disk brakes or by a regenerative braking system utilizing the scooter’s motor. Transportation of the scooter requires partially disassembling the scooter or the use of a van or trunk-mounted lift. The tiller steering mechanism requires the user to physically turn the steering handle left and right to turn the vehicle. This requires substantially more strength and range of motion than the typical joystick control provided on powered wheelchairs.” Some state jurisdictions have further defined mobility scooters, such as the state of Oregon, which states that mobility scooters are “equipped with a power source that is incapable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of greater than 24 m.p.h. on level ground.”
• There are two types of mobility scooters under the law. Class 2 scooters are slower, reaching speeds of up to 4 m.p.h. They are relegated to the sidewalk. Class 3 scooters are faster and typically larger. They can reach speeds of up to 8 m.p.h. and can be driven on the road. Class 3 scooters are not allowed on bicycle tracks, motorways or bus and bicycle lanes.
• Because Class 3 scooters are allowed roadway access, a driver must pass a vision test and cannot be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while operating the vehicle.
• For a mobility scooter to travel on the road in most jurisdictions, it must have both headlights and taillights installed.
Post time: Dec-18-2014