You may have wondered if you can drive your riding lawnmower on the road or not. You can not drive a riding mower on the road because it is not a legal vehicle in most places. A few places recognize it as a vehicle but the riding mower would have to be able to run at the specified minimum speed, pass the roadworthy tests, and you would need a license to drive it on the road. The rules on this vary and can be quite tricky, but we will examine them in detail in this article. If you have been asking yourself can you drive a lawnmower on the road, read this article.
Can I drive my lawnmower on the road?
The answer to this depends on where you live, the vehicle laws in your location, and the context.
Most regions have different terms to describe the law it is classified under. ‘Street legal’ or ‘road worthy’ are the common terms. A vehicle must be street legal or road-worthy before it can be driven on the road.
The scope of the term depends on the country or region. For most places, street legal means the vehicle must be registered, have a license number, functioning lights, and turn signals.
In such places, if your mower does not have all these things, you can not drive it on the road. If you do, it will be illegal, and you can get arrested.
The term road might also mean different things according to the location. But the general meaning of road means ‘a wide surface way leading from one place to another. However, the law in some places might define a road as a wide way, specially made for cars. In such places, if your friend down the street asked to borrow your mower, and you drive it on the sidewalk to get it to him, would you be breaking the law? The answer to this would depend on the legal definition of a ‘pedestrian walkway’ or ‘sidewalk’ in your location. Also, it would depend if there are any laws regarding roadside use in that area. Most countries prohibit driving any vehicle on pedestrian walkways or the sidewalk.
Most places have laws that proscribe driving your lawnmowers and other slow moving vehicles on a highway, even if it is not illegal to drive it on the road. Slow moving vehicles are generally not allowed on the highway since they can not reach the minimum speed requirement. Slow driving is against road laws in most places. When you drive slow, you hinder traffic flow and can cause accidents. Lawnmowers’ speed is are too slow to be driven on most roads. 15-miles per hour is the minimum speed in most places, and if your mower can not move at this pace, you would be breaking the law.
Some places will allow you to drive it on a less busy street as long as you put a slow moving vehicle sign. But not on a crowded, busy street.
You will need to check with your local laws on the issue if you find yourself needing to move your mower. Read up on your vehicle laws. If you find that it is not clear enough, get clarification from a public lawyer or counselor.
Do I need a license to drive my mower?
That depends on whether a lawnmower is road worthy or street legal where you live. If it is a legal vehicle in your location, the answer to this question is YES. The same way you need a license to drive your car on the road. No matter the country, it is illegal to drive a legal vehicle without a license.
If a lawnmower is not road worthy where you are, then you should not drive it on the road, and a license does not apply here. You would be breaking your road laws whether you have a license or not. In most places, you will be arrested for two counts – driving without a license and driving a vehicle that is not street legal on the road.
In a place where lawnmowers are not road worthy, they might still have a few laws about this. For instance, in the UK, you have to be at least sixteen and have a driver’s license to use a riding mower. And it is illegal to drive the mower if your license is expired or suspended.
The laws might be different in other places in Europe and America, and it varies. A few other places allow you to drive your mower around your yard without a license, no matter how large the property. But the moment you cross into the road, you would be breaking the law.
Can I drive my riding mower on the road in the countryside?
The roads are not tiled, and there are very few cars moving on most countryside roads. Slow moving tractors and other slow vehicles use the road to get from one point to another. Speed limits are generally low. So there might be no law against driving your mower a short distance. Though, if the streets are busy and the speed limit is higher than a mower can handle, it might be against the community laws. But you should confirm this with the authorities.
Can I be charged with ‘driving under the influence(DUI) on a mower?
Yes. In places where mowers are classed as vehicles, you can be charged with DUI if you drink and operate the machinery. Even in places where it isn’t, if you are caught, you will be charged with DUI. No matter where you are located in the world, alcohol, and driving don’t mix, especially if the law is involved!
Can I drive a mower on the sidewalk?
No. Motorized vehicles are prohibited on sidewalks in many parts of the world. Sidewalks are meant for pedestrians, and even vehicles such as skateboards are not allowed on sidewalks in many countries. Bicycles or motorcycles are no exception. The sidewalk is simply for walking, not for riders.
Can there be a passenger on the mower when driving on the road?
No! Lawnmowers come with one seat because it is meant for only one person at a time. It is against the law to carry a passenger on your mower, whether a small human, a pet, or a full-grown adult, no passengers are allowed! It is said that lawnmowers are the number one cause of amputation in kids and more than six hundred children suffer serious injuries from mower accidents yearly. Many of these kids were passengers in the mower. Carrying children on your lap while mowing is dangerous and against the law. Don’t do it.
A lawnmower is only allowed to be driven in the yard, and to be used for its original purpose – mowing the lawn. At least in many parts of the world, this is the standard. But in a few places, it is considered a vehicle too and can be driven on the road.
Whatever the law says in your country, be responsible with the mower and abide by the law. If it is legal to drive it on the road, make sure you drive with your license. Do not drive on sidewalks or pedestrian walkways. Avoid alcohol when driving your riding mower or any other vehicle.
Be conversant with the vehicle laws in your location, and seek clarification where there’s confusion.
Lawnmowers are designed for cutting grass on private, public, or commercial property, not a means of transportation. So it is illegal to drive it on the road in most parts of the world.
However, if you must move it from your property to your friend’s, the repair shop, or anywhere else, it is wiser to have it transported with a trailer.
Better to be safe than sorry.