Motorized Wheelchairs on Sidewalks (Updated)

Question

David asked:  Do Florida Statutes address motorized wheelchairs or scooters used by the elderly and disabled?

Answer

When this question was first posed, I asked the FHP and received this response:

My inquiry to the Florida Highway Patrol at FHP@flhsmv.gov elicited this response:

Thank you for your inquiry.  Being that Florida Statute is not clear on this issue, I have requested a Legal Opinion from our Department on this issue.  We will let you know when the decision has been made.

Sgt. Jesse Evans

Since then, HB 971 amended the applicable statute as follows:

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.

Although I have not been able to confirm it, I believe the change was made due to the initiative of the FHP in response to our discussion.

18 Comments on “Motorized Wheelchairs on Sidewalks (Updated)

  1. Not to stir things up, but I’m amused by the clear contradiction in the statute.

    (a) On a road or street where the posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour or less.

    (c) On any street or road where bicycles are permitted.

    Bicycles are not restricted by speed limits, so PMDs can be ridden just about anywhere.

    No mention is made about keeping as far to the right as practicable, either. Since the Segway is at least as wide as a bicycle, it should be using as much of the roadway, if not more. I suppose it’s to the operator’s disadvantage that they are not entitled to the three-foot passing clearance.

    20 mph is a pretty good clip. I didn’t think those things could go that fast, they sure can’t have much range.

    I’ll stick to a velomobile (or a Focus Designs Self-Balancing Unicycle, which is mostly half of a Segway, anyway)

  2. Motorized wheelchairs for the disabled have 3 wheels.
    Scooters do not.
    That’s the distinction…
    Scooters require licensing and tags. Motorized wheelchairs do not.
    It’s happened before.
    An elderly man who lost his license, wanted to drive a scooter, so he got his doctor to get him a paper stating that he needed a “mobility scooter”, so that he could try to get away with driving a scooter. Which didn’t work, because he was cited and convicted of driving without a license and driving an unregistered vehicle.

    Why do you ask?

    • Federal law has been updsted. Two wheels are ok. Segway is mentioned several times in the first paragraph.

    • You don’t know the new ada law
      Check it out before passing on more wrong information.

  3. Are there any legal restrictions (statutes) on the use of three or four wheeled motorized chairs be they called wheelchairs (four wheeled) or scooter chairs (three wheeled) on public roads in the state of Florida?

    In the past five years what safety concerns have been noted by the FHP?

    Where can any studies or reports on accidents involving three or four wheeled motorized vehicles be found online?

    • Electric-powered “mobility scooters” commonly have 3 or 4 wheels. The Florida Motor Vehicles Title makes no specific reference to “mobility scooter”. The state traffic code includes a brief regulation (in s. 316.1303) re use of a “motorized wheelchair” (without defining the term):

      “A person who is mobility impaired and who is using a motorized wheelchair on a sidewalk may temporarily leave the sidewalk and use the roadway to avoid a potential conflict, if no alternative route exists. A law enforcement officer may issue only a verbal warning to such person.”

      The Florida Highway Patrol can be contacted via the links at http://www.flhsmv.gov/fhp/misc/Contact.htm

      • I suggest looking over tthe federal laws, that over ride the state, I am sure. Electric bikes can’t be regulsted, I call it the Lee Iacocca law, other devices for handicapped people are well defined by fed statute, allowing almost anything to be used with little exception, cept for no gas engines inside. They do not address lighting, however.

  4. Just seems like to me we have too many laws. Once part of the system nothing is easy for you. I remember when I was a kid I had a moped and at that time I could ride it on the sidewalk or street without a license. Nothing is 100% safe.

  5. The American people are aging and aging fast. In the name of Public Safety – the issue of Licenses for Powered Wheelchairs on Public Property needs to be addressed. Buddha, Tao, Kami (Gods), and Megami (Goddesses) Bless from this humble little Japanese girl – and may this issue be solved according to Nonviolence, avoiding aggression, and Nonsinning, avoiding harm to others.

  6. I ride a 2 wheeled electric scooter. I am a disabled person. It is a small sit down scooter. Picture a bear at the circus. I have clearly marked handicap stickers on my scooter. I am constantly hassled in stores and other places because it’s a 2 wheeled vehicle. Any help for a Floridian on the 2 wheel front?

    • Simply put into your search ADA DEFINITION OF A WHEELCHAIR. Than print and laminate it. Next look up opmd. Other powered mobility devices. I’ve been threatened and had the sheriffs called on me. 3 cars responded. I asked the!m, politely if they knew ADA law. They didn’t. Left without taking my name. My ride? A 1000 watt minibike. ADA says I can ride it anywhere people are allowed to walk, ANYWHERE. If gas powered, only outside where walking is allowed.

    • Print out and carry with you at minimum the ADA definition of a WHEELCHAIR. It’s simple. Something with wheels than can be powered by persons, electric or gasoline. If gasoline you can’t use it inside. I carry the complete ADA law on OPMDs , everything is covered.
      Educate yourself. You have more rights than you can imagine.
      My new ride is a RAD-RUNNER. Lowest step through, all aluminum, 40 miles range, capable of taking a passenger, two disc brakes on 20″ fat tires, weight only 65lbs, lever release from wheel and it easily fits into the back of my Trax. $1,000 DELIVERED with a DAV discount. Had it one year, used daily, ZERO problems.

  7. I need help with getting a motorized wheelchair that’s for inside and outside that’s made for my disabilities and special needs. Any suggestions and I have health insurance. I haven’t been able to walk long distances in almost 9 years now and I’m slowly losing my ability to walk. Please help anyone who knows what there talking about and knows what their doing. Help, Help, Help.

  8. My friend was riding his electric wheelchair on sidewalk,the crossed street at light and was hit by a truck. The person who hit him was not ticketed because the patrolman said they were both at fault. The driver of ruck was turning and didn’t see the wheelchair…the man in wheelchair did not have a flag…..,,he died after a week in icu from injuries.
    I feel kid driving truck should have been sighted…

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