Using a mobility scooter or motorised wheelchair in NSW
Scooters, gophers and powered wheelchairs all come under the umbrella term ‘motorised wheelchairs’. A person using any of the above machines is defined as a ‘pedestrian’ under the NSW Road Rules.
Some commonly asked questions to help you with your decision to purchase a mobility scooter or other motorised mobility aid.
Do I have to register my mobility scooter or power chair?
Under NSW law you are not required to register your scooter or power chair. You and your motorised wheelchair must comply with the NSW Road Rules.
What NSW Road Rules does a person using a scooter or other mobility equipment need to observe?
- You cannot travel faster than 10 kilometres per hour on level ground
- The mobility unit must not exceed 110 kilograms unladen.
- You must not travel on the road unless it is impracticable to travel on the footpath or nature strip next to the road.
- You must keep as far to the side of the road as possible and face oncoming traffic if no footpath is available.
- You must not use the motorised wheelchair with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 or more.
Do I need a special licence to drive a scooter or power chair?
There is no formal test or requirement for a special licence. However you must be unable to walk or have difficulty in walking to be able to lawfully drive a motorised wheelchair on a footpath, public road or road related area.
Do I need to pay third party insurance?
No, you are not required to pay third party insurance.
What skills do I need to drive safely in a mobility scooter or power chair?
There are some basic skills required to operate the mobility equipment safely. You must be able to:
- Operate the controls and manoeuvre the machine
- Keep your balance and adjust your body position when you travel across uneven ground
- Spot obstacles and avoid collisions
- Judge speeds and distances
- Make good judgements to protect your safety and others.
How can I increase my safety driving a scooter or power chair?
There are a few things that you can easily do to improve your safety and the safety of others. These include:
- Attach an orange safety flag to your chair high enough so that other vehicles and pedestrians can see it
- If possible attach rear view mirrors to your scooter
- Plan your travel in advance so that you use public footpaths as much as possible
- Know where the kerb ramps and drive ways are for safe crossing
- Avoid highways and major roads, and if you need to use a road try to use quiet streets
- If you have to travel at night, use lights and reflectors to increase your visibility
Your new mobility scooter or power chair will provide you with greater freedom and a much improved lifestyle. Get out and about, chat to others and most importantly of all…. smell the roses!