ADA Vehicle on the Sidewalk

Question

Richard asked: Can I operate an ADA mobility scooter on sidewalk in FL/North Port?

Answer

I believe your vehicle is this:

s. 320.01 – Definitions, General

(33) “Motorized disability access vehicle” means a vehicle designed primarily for handicapped individuals with normal upper body abilities and designed to be fueled by gasoline, travel on not more than three wheels, with a motor rated not in excess of 2 brake horsepower and not capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed greater than 30 miles per hour on level ground, and with a power-drive system that functions directly or automatically without clutching or shifting gears by the operator after the drive system is engaged. If an internal combustion engine is used, the displacement may not exceed 50 cubic centimeters.

A disability access vehicle is a motor vehicle. If your vehicle is not as described above, but is also powered by other than human power, it may not be operated on sidewalks.

s. 316.1995 – Driving upon Sidewalk or Bicycle Path

(1) No person shall drive any vehicle other than by human power upon a bicycle path, sidewalk ….

(3) This section does not apply to motorized wheelchairs.

There is more information about disability access vehicles here:

http://flbikelaw.org/2014/10/motorized-disability-access-vehicles/

8 Comments on “ADA Vehicle on the Sidewalk

  1. I think it would be better if the OP could give us a link to a website that has pictures and technical specifications for us to look at.

  2. Wikipedia describes mobility scooters at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobility_scooter; a Web search for “mobility scooter” will yield many pictures and vendor links. I would describe them as very low-speed 3- or 4-wheeled motor scooters with handlebars and armchairs. They can (some models) travel over more varied terrain than powered (electric) wheelchairs and are available at lower cost, but cannot be taken on public transit buses as wheelchairs can (wheelchairs have 4-point tie-downs).

    S. 316.1995, quoted in Geo’s answer, prohibits driving a “vehicle by other than human power” on a sidewalk but makes the exception in subsection (3) for “motorized wheelchairs”. No exception is mentioned for mobility scooters (or what chapter 320 calls “motorized disability access vehicles”), sidewalk use permissions carved out in other sections for Segways and golf cars (where specially authorized) would not apply, and there is no way I know of for a mobility scooter operator to propel the scooter with their own human power.

  3. I think it’s pretty much common knowledge what a “mobility scooter” is…
    I have only seen the 4 wheeled electric ones that go maybe 5mph. I highly doubt any LEO would be so brazen as to doubt the legality of them and their usage.

    What my GUESS is, is that since the OP is starting off with “ADA Mobility Scooter” in his question, that he has a specific model in mind..

    I would like to see a link from the OP to the EXACT model he’s talking about.
    (I’m guessing it’s not the “traditional” type I mentioned, but some high powered type.)
    Until we can see exactly what model he’s talking about, his question is unanswerable.

  4. “Until we can see exactly what model he’s talking about, his question is unanswerable.”

    We answered his question. If it isn’t human powered or one of the specific exceptions Dwight mentioned, it cannot be operated on a sidewalk. If it is under human power only, it is legal.

  5. What is the legal definition of a “motorized wheelchair” then?
    I submit to you, that a mobility scooter IS a motorized wheelchair.

    There is much confusion concerning this topic
    Motorized wheelchair, mobility scooter, motorized disability access vehicle…
    I would think a motorized wheelchair and a mobility scooter are the same thing..
    I’ve never seen a “motorized disability access vehicle” (gas powered something)?!?

  6. So basically if a mobility scooter is not a motorized wheelchair, then it can’t be used on a sidewalk? That’s a ridiculous statement, in my eyes and hence my confusion and doubt.

  7. Chapter 316, the Uniform Traffic Control Law, does not define “motorized wheelchair”. In such cases, the so-called “plain meaning” of a term (as can best be determined from dictionaries) is ordinarily used in statutory construction. Chapter 316 says nothing about any “mobility scooter”.

    Chapter 320, the Motor Vehicle Licenses chapter, defines “motorized disability access vehicle” (which, with speeds up to 30 mph and engine displacement up to 50 cc, apparently includes gas-powered scooters much more powerful than the electric mobility scooters most mobility scooter customers buy), but the term is not used in chapter 316.

    Inasmuch, though, as a mobility scooter satisfies chapter 316’s definition of “Vehicle” (316.003(75), “Every device, in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, excepting devices used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks”), use of a mobility scooter on the street (roadway) is not prohibited.

    The page at http://www.disabled-world.com/assistivedevices/mobility/scooters/scooters-vs-wheelchairs.php explains some differences between (electric) power wheelchairs and (electric) mobility scooters.

  8. Florida powered transportation laws exempt powered wheelchairs allowing them to be used on public walkways and sidewalks and other areas designated as human powered travel only. The ADA guarantees equal access, that doesn’t mean you can bypass the law and drive your 82 S10 pickup on the sidewalk. Wheels matter. Use matters. Ability to walk normally matters.

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