We have all seen the increase in use of mobility scooter on our pavements and shopping centres and probably have had to move out of the way of drivers who have invested in this highly useful mobility aid.
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.
Mature Times has been contacted by Andy Foster, Project officer for South Yorkshire police, who is very keen for us to pass information and training designed to heighten awareness of safety for mobility scooter drivers, as well as car drivers in the over 60s age bracket.
In the last 6 years, just within South Yorkshire, there have been over 60 collisions involving mobility scooters or powered wheelchairs; some unfortunately have proved fatal, whilst others have suffered life changing injuries. Only recently, an elderly man had to be escorted by police off the M18 motorway after taking a wrong turn!
Members of the public, who have no previous driving experience, can purchase a scooter and do not require a licence, insurance, or any training and they may have no previous driving experience at all.
Many other Police Authorities also hold special safety events to advise on the safe and courteous use of mobility scooters and highlight common safety risks. They can also supply leaflets and advice if you cannot attend a course.
A free ‘Safe Scoot’ video is available to watch on line at www. norfolk.police.uk and other local police authorities. It is introduced by Sheila Reid, who played Madge in ‘Benidorm’. A ‘Safe Scoot’ Highway Code booklet is also available for any scooter user.
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 hope people will contact their local police authority to find out more about scooter use.
You can also download a special booklet in pdf form from www.roadsafetygb.org.uk/Mobility-Sample.pdf or call your local police on 101 and they will put you through to the Safer Neighbourhood Team for more information.