Motorised wheelchairs and mobility scooters
Mobility scooters, or ‘gophers’, are classified as motorised wheelchairs. Mobility scooters are mobility aids with two or more wheels and have a top speed of 10km/h on level ground. They’re specially built to transport a single person who can’t walk or has trouble walking. A mobility scooter doesn't include a wheeled recreational device such as a motor scooter, pram, stroller, trolley or any other motor-assisted machine.
This means that as long as you meet the safety rules below, you can use your mobility scooter on a shared path, footpath and nature strip.
A bicycle path is an area that looks like a footpath, but is designated for bicycle use. A bicycle lane is an area that's part of a road, but is designated for bikes.
We recommend mobility scooter users don’t travel on either a bicycle path or a bicycle lane. However, you can cross a bicycle path/lane, use a bicycle path if there are no signs that prohibit it and use a bicycle lane for up to 50 metres.
You don’t need to register or get third-party insurance for a mobility scooter in NSW. People with mobility scooters don’t need a licence to use one in NSW.
Get the facts
NSW road rules
A mobility scooter in NSW must not have the capacity to travel faster than 10km/h or accommodate more than one person.
As a user, you must:
- never exceed 10km/h
- make sure your mobility scooter meets the requirements of NSW Road Rules 2014
- have a reasonable need to use a mobility scooter because of physical disability or limited mobility
- obey all pedestrian road rules
- not cause a traffic hazard by moving into the path of a driver
- not unreasonably obstruct the path of another driver or pedestrian
- not be affected by alcohol or drugs when travelling on a road or road-related area such as a footpath.
Tools and tips
How to travel safely
- Plan a route that allows access to a footpath for the entire journey
- Know where there are kerb ramps/driveways you can use for safe crossings
- Take extra care when leaving the kerb to cross the road
- Slow down when turning and avoid turning on steep hills
- Ride on the footpath, preferably at walking speed which is 2–3km/h
- Cross the road at safe places such as traffic lights with pedestrian signals and pedestrian crossings
- Wait until traffic has stopped before travelling onto a pedestrian crossing
- Be prepared to stop for pedestrians
- Watch for vehicles entering and leaving driveways
- Avoid highways, roundabouts, major roads and heavy vehicles
- Avoid steep hills unless it's necessary
- If you're forced to use roads, travel on quieter streets, keep to the side and face oncoming traffic wherever possible
- Wear bright clothes and attach a safety flag to your chair high enough above your head to be visible to others
- Use a basket or rack instead of your lap to carry things
- If possible, attach rear-view mirrors to your chair
- If you must travel at night, use lights and reflectors for better visibility
- If possible, check out a new route beforehand to make sure it’s suitable for a motorised wheelchair
- For more on planning a safe route, contact your local council's access committee.
Safe operating skills
To use a motorised wheelchair safely, you must be able to:
- operate controls and manoeuvre the wheelchair around tight corners
- keep your balance and adjust your body position when travelling across uneven ground
- spot obstacles and avoid collisions
- judge speeds and distances
- make good judgements to protect your safety and others.
Alcohol mixed with prescription or other drugs may further affect your ability to use a motorised wheelchair safely.
If you're concerned about your ability to use a motorised wheelchair, check with your doctor before riding. Your doctor or healthcare professional may be able to arrange an assessment by an accredited occupational therapist.
Who to contact locally
- Aged and disability services at your local council
- Occupational therapy department at your local hospital
- Aged care assessment team at your local health centre
For more information
Mobility aid specifications on public transport.