Crash course in mobility scooter safety
The Wakefield NHS health and wellbeing team has joined forces with the Neighbourhood Police Team and mobility retailer Tate-Care Mobility Centre to hold a mobility scooter safety event at Ferrybridge Community Centre.
The event promoted the safe and courteous use of mobility scooters and highlighted common safety risks. Any existing mobility scooter users or anyone considering buying a mobility scooter was invited.
There are around 330,000 users in the UK for whom scooters provide a lifeline to the outside world giving them their freedom and independence. But staying safe on board is essential to get the most out of your mobility scooter. At the event people were given top tips on how to get the best from their scooter while keeping safe. Driving demonstrations were provided by the Neighbourhood Police Team on the indoor scooter track with the chance to have a go afterwards. A free ‘Safe Scoot’ DVD introduced by Sheila Reid, who played Madge in ‘Benidorm’ and a ‘Safe Scoot’ Highway Code booklet was available for any scooter user who safely negotiated the indoor track.
Information on choosing and looking after a scooter was provided by Pontefract-based Tate Care Mobility Centre and Age UK and Wakefield District Housing handed out information.
Jackie Sharp, health and wellbeing development worker, “This was a fantastic opportunity for us all to work together to promote safe scooter use. Being unable to get safely out and about can have a major effect on health and wellbeing and using public transport or a taxi is not always possible or convenient. A mobility scooter if safely used can be the key to independence, especially if you’re just going to the local shops or anywhere that’s a little too far to walk. “
Acting Inspector Dan Tillett with Pontefract and Knottingley Neighbourhood Police Team, added, “Mobility scooters represent freedom to people with impaired movement, but it is important to understand the scooter and the responsibilities that come with its use. We are pleased to support this initiative and bring it to our communities, promoting safety and road awareness, to help reduce accidents.”
Top tips for mobility scooter safety
- Seek professional advice before making a purchase to ensure that the mobility scooter meets your individual needs and requirements.
- Understand what all the switches and levers on your scooter do, and be confident that you can control it properly before you go outside on it for the first time.
- Keep your scooter properly maintained and have it thoroughly checked. The manufacturer’s handbook will tell you how often to do this.
- Make sure your battery is kept fully charged. If you are storing the vehicle for long periods without use make sure the battery is recharged at least once a month.
- It is important to see and be seen. If you are using anything to protect you from the weather, make sure that it does not restrict your vision.
- Do not use your scooter if you have drinking alcohol or taking drugs. Check the patient information on any medication your doctor prescribes or which you buy over the counter.
- Plan your route in advance. The most direct or the shortest route will not always be the best route to take.
- Keep your personal possessions safe and secure and your valuables out of sight.
- Do not overload your scooter with shopping or other goods or hand anything from the handlebars as this could make the scooter unstable and more difficult to control.
- Pedestrians have the right of way. If you are riding on a pavement or footpath, give way to pedestrians. The top speed allowed is 4mph and even this may be too fast where there are pedestrians.
- To drive on the road you need a vehicle (Class 3) that can travel at 8mph (12 km/h) or (Class 2) if there is no alternative. It must also have headlights, rear lights, flashing indicators and a horn.
- When you are on the road you should obey the guidance and rules for other vehicles – The Highway Code. When on the pavement you should follow the guidance and rules for pedestrians. Mobility scooters are called Invalid Carriages in law.
- Although you do not have to be insured by law, it is recommended that you have at least third-party cover.