Each year, thousands of new and second hand mobility scooters take to our roads and pavements. Many are sold by unqualified people, who do not carry out the right safety checks, which puts new users at risk. Now a new online guide to buying and using mobility scooters has been published to help reduce accidents and ensure the new user is not ripped off.
These vehicles, which can go at anything up to 8mph, play a huge role in enabling many older and disabled people to get out and about and to remain independent.
The last decade has seen a massive rise in the numbers of mobility scooters on our roads and pavements, up from an estimated 70,000 to over 300,000 in the last six years alone
There are growing concerns, however, within the healthcare trade and in Government too that many people are buying the wrong vehicle from unqualified people and heading out onto the roads unsafe, untrained, uninsured and unprotected.
There is, for instance, no requirement for mandatory training for mobility scooter users, or to have insurance cover, nor any legal eyesight standard to meet, although users can be sued if they are involved in an accident. As a result, accidents involving mobility scooters are regularly in the news and a Department of Transport Consultation is currently underway to see if changes to the way they are sold and regulated are needed.
The advice website www.myageingparent.co.uk has worked with the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) to produce a short, handy online guide to the “do’s and don’ts” of buying and using a mobility scooter. Read the guide HERE. “These mobility vehicles can improve many peoples’ lifestyle, but making the right decision when buying one is crucial,” says the site’s MD Deborah Stone.
”No one should contemplate buying one without doing some research and they certainly shouldn’t buy from a qualified and experienced supplier. Yet many people are buying them second hand off the Internet , with no way of checking if the vehicle is right for them.
If you’re buying a new vehicle,” says Deborah, “as when buying a new car, the best way to ensure you make the right decision is to try a wide range of models from different manufacturers. You should also not use the vehicle without an assessment of your needs, proper training, and guidance as to where it can be used. If you take advice from a properly qualified BHTA member, they will do all that to give you the best possible start.”
Some of the key practical questions you need to have answered when buying a mobility vehicle are:
- Is it comfortable, even over long distances?
- Can I get on and off it easily?
- Will it be suitable for all types of ground I anticipate using it over?
- Do I need it to be able to climb kerbs?
- Does it give me the mileage range I need, not just at home, but when I want to visit friends or make a trip?
- Can I park and recharge it easily and safely at home?
- Is it guaranteed against faults and breakdown?
- Can you afford to insure it?
- Have you check the credentials of the company selling it to you?
If you are buying a second hand vehicle, the advice from www.myageingparent.co.uk is to buy from a mobility specialist registered with the BHTA, who will:
- Check that your second hand vehicle is safe and roadworthy and critically, offer a proper guarantee
- Help you to assess its suitability for your needs
- Offer all the services of training and backup that you would receive if you had bought a new vehicle
- Charge a fair price
“Numbers of mobility scooters are set to keep on rising,” says Deborah, “and more and more suppliers are coming into the market. That makes it even more important to make sure the vehicle you buy is right for you, that you know how to use it safely, and that you’re paying a fair price.”
Read the guide to buying mobility scooters HERE