Are Mobility Scooters Allowed In Shops? (eg. Supermarkets)
A mobility scooter gives you the freedom to travel by yourself, and allows you to get to places every day that may otherwise have been challenging to get to.
You can visit friends and family, go to the park or just go outside for a ride in the fresh air, especially on a nice day.
One of the main types of destination many mobility scooter drivers want to use their scooter for is to get to the shops.
In the vast majority of cases, there will be no problem with taking your mobility scooter into a shop, but there are a few exceptions.
In this article, we’ll talk about the factors that determine the answer to ‘are mobility scooter allowed in shops?’, including what the law says in the UK, the size and type of scooter, and the speed of travel while inside a shop.
Introducing: Are Mobility Scooters Allowed In Shops?
Yes, they are.
According to UK law, public buildings must allow for disabled access, including for mobility scooters.
Public buildings include shops, shopping centres, museums, libraries and hospitals, among many others. We’ve looked into whether mobility scooters are allowed in hospitals.
That’s what the law says, and shops must allow for this within their capabilities.
However, be aware that UK law also has provisions which shops must follow regarding the safety of everyone who enters their store.
And one such provision is that they must take care to ensure that entrances and aisles are not blocked and have sufficient space for everyone to move around safely. And that all of the shop’s customers can exit the building safely in the event of a fire, or other emergency.
That being the case, if your mobility scooter is too big for a particular store, then you may not be allowed in.
When Is A Scooter Too Big For A Store?
There are no legal limits, it all depends on the size of the store, and whether a given mobility scooter can safely fit.
Here are factors that will apply for your mobility scooter to be deemed too big for a store:
- If the entrance and/or exit does not allow the scooter to fit
- If the aisles of the store are too narrow. Even if the scooter fits, if there is not enough space on either side for other shoppers to pass, it may be deemed that the scooter is too big.
- If the store has tight corners. If your mobility scooter has a wide turning circle, it may be impossible to get around the store freely and safely.
Typically, you’ll find absolutely no issues with larger supermarkets. They have thousands of customers each week, and are visited by people with disability of all kinds.
The bigger the shop and the bigger the company, the more likely they are to make extensive efforts to comply fully with legislation on disabled access.
They also tend to have significant square footage, and therefore they have enough room for even the largest mobility scooters.
Which Types Of Mobility Scooters Are Allowed Into Shops?
The law doesn’t specify that any particular type of mobility scooter is or is not allowed. Both Class 2 and Class 3 scooters can be used on pavements and public areas, such as shops.
However, there are some types of scooter that are more likely to be allowed by a store, and some types that are less likely.
There are 3 primary classes of mobility scooter: Class 2, Class 3 and off-road (all-terrain) mobility scooters
Some Class 2 scooters are only a little larger than wheelchairs.
You’re likely to be able to navigate the vast majority of shops, especially since the turning circle is likely to be not quite small.
Here are the best light, foldable mobility scooters in the UK.
Class 3 scooters are intended for both pavement use and road use (here are the UK laws and rules for mobility scooters).
Smaller Class 3 scooters will also comfortably fit in most stores.
Larger Class 3 scooters may navigate without issues in larger shops and supermarkets, but may be too large for some smaller shops.
Even if it fits, if it has a large turning cycle, it may have some issues with navigating corners in some smaller stores.
Off road mobility scooters
This class of scooter tends to be large, they are, after all, designed for outdoor use.
That means they may take up too much space, even at larger shops, shopping centres and supermarkets.
They also tend to have large turning circles, and may not be able to get around the store easily. Some stores will be unable to grant you access, and may ask you to leave to ensure the safety of all customers.
Speed Of A Mobility Scooter In Shops
Legal speed limit
Any time you’re in a public place on a mobility scooter, you must obey UK law regarding speed – so you must travel at a maximum speed of 4mph, legally.
It’s generally fine to travel at 4mph on the pavement and outdoor footpaths, when it’s not too busy and there’s not too much manoeuvring around other pavement users required.
Lower speed to suit circumstances
In shops, however, people tend to walk slower as they browse the shelves and product displays, often stopping at intervals to pick up or inspect products.
As a result, with such slow pace of movement by people in stores, it’s best to match their pace. A maximum speed of 3mph while in a shop may be best.
It’s advised to judge the situation according to its merits. If it’s a very clearly empty aisle, foe example, perhaps you can go slightly faster.
And if it’s busy with people moving around at different speeds, and perhaps even little children running around, who are not necessarily easily seen, it’s best to err with caution and go a little slower. That ensures the safety of you and the people around you in the store.
Which Type Of Mobility Scooter Is Best For Shops?
The mobility scooter that is most likely to be allowed in shops is a smaller one. The smallest scooter on the UK market, by the way, is the Motion Healthcare mLite mobility scooter.
The smallest mobility scooters are only slightly larger than wheelchairs, and almost all shops can accommodate wheelchairs.
Not only does it give you the best chance to be allowed into the shop, it also makes your shopping experience much easier and more hassle-free.
That’s because a smaller sized scooter gives you:
- more manoeuvrability (the best of this kind being the Super Handy mobility scooter).
- better ability to go around tight corners (smaller turning circle)
- better ability to navigate between the display units
- the ability to traverse narrower aisles with space to spare.
Smaller scooters will almost always be Class 2 scooters, and, in particular, folding mobility scooters. These tend to be the smallest.
Are Mobility Scooters Allowed In Supermarkets?
As we mentioned earlier, UK law states that shops must allow disabled access. They must take steps to ensure that their store design and layout allows for disabled users to enter and move around the store.
Supermarkets are likely to be the type of shop that gives you the best chance of being allowed.
Most major supermarkets have large entrances and exits, and very wide aisles. As well as, plenty of turning space to get around corners. The bigger the store, the more space there is likely to be for access and for travelling around the store.
Are you allowed in their store on a mobility scooter?
Yes, you are.
Aldi recently invested £300m to revamp their stores, focusing in improving the layout of their stores. That included wider aisles and more space to move around in.
They stated “our new stores give you more space to move about, meaning more room for trolleys, wheelchairs and mobility scooters.”
As you can see from this, shops are specifically taking action to ensure there is enough space for mobility scooters, and specifically mention mobility scooters as one of their motivations for doing so.
Are you allowed access on your scooter?
Yes, you are.
You’re allowed to drive a mobility scooter in Sainsbury’s. In fact, they say that “many of our stores will have a mobility scooter”, with “all our supermarket stores having at least one wheelchair”.
So lots of their stores have a mobility scooter that you can use. If they have one available for borrowing, then they’ll certainly allow you to take your own inside.
Be aware that if you do intend to use their mobility scooter, they may only have one or a few and they could be in use at the time of your visit. So you’d have to wait for the current user to finish their shopping before you can use it.
Asda allow mobility scooters in their stores.
In fact, you can check each store for a list of their facilities, many of them show that they have mobility scooters available for your use.
For example, here’s a store’s page showing their facilities and accessibility option.
You can see that at this London store they have one or more mobility scooters available for customer use.
Like the other major supermarkets, it’s fine to use a mobility scooter inside their store.
And like the others, some of their stores have
They have an accessibility guide for each store, called AccessAble.
This lists everything you need to know about the facilities and accessibility, including pictures of the aisles, so you can check out the width of the aisles and the turning space you’d have available.
Here’s an example of the AccessAble page for a store.
They also list the aisle width, so you can make absolutely sure your scooter will fit. And they also say if there is step-free access throughout the store.
Morrisons allow mobility scooter access.
They have “motorised carts” available for shoppers in most stores, and it’s more likely in larger stores. If you’d like to use one, you can ask customer services when you enter the store.
As with mobility scooters at other supermarkets, they’re available on a first come-first served basis.
If a store has motorised carts, then it’s very likely to have enough space for your mobility scooter.
Are mobility scooters allowed in local shops?
Even smaller, local shops must obey the law regarding disabled access; the law is the same for all kinds of shops.
So it’s relatively rare these days for a shop to have steps as the only access, there will almost always be a ramp to allow wheelchair and mobility scooter users to access.
However, in smaller shops, space must also be considered. If there are narrow aisles, and very little turning space, the owner or a staff member of the shop may decide that it’s a safety hazard to take the scooter into the shop. Therefore, they may ask you to leave the scooter outside.
Even if you feel there is enough space for the scooter, if there’s no space, or very little space, for other customers in the shop to get past you, the shop staff may feel it’s dangerous, and potentially violates the terms of their public liability insurance.
Equally, if there’s little turning space, and the scooter cannot comfortably get around corners, it could be deemed a safety hazard.
This depends a lot on the size of the mobility scooter. A smaller Class 2 folding mobility scooter may have no issues. And the turning circle should therefore be relatively small and won’t require a lot of space in the shop. But a larger Class 3 road-legal scooter may simply be too big for the store, while its turning circle may be too large for it to get around sharper corners in-store.
The best way to find out if your mobility scooter can access the store is to call or email the store. You can normally find their contact details by searching on Google.
You can give them the dimensions of the scooter and ask them if it’s okay for you to take it inside.
Summing Up: Are Mobility Scooters Allowed In Shops
As you’ve read, there are specific provisions in UK law which state that shops must allow for disabled access, and since mobility scooters are a common mode of getting around for disabled people, they are allowed in shops.
It depends, though on the size of the mobility scooter, its ability to navigate sharp corners and otherwise get around the store without causing any hazards to other people.
Smaller, Class 2 scooters then, are allowed in the vast majority of stores, whereas bigger Class 3 scooter and all terrain mobility scooters may be too large, and users could be refused access.