A mobility scooter can vastly improve an individual's quality of life by increasing their independence and providing them with the opportunity to rediscover their freedom outdoors.
However, as more people take the opportunity to regain their mobility, the media is keen to highlight stories of mobility scooter misuse on today's roads.
As the UK's leading specialist in mobility scooters TGA ensures every new customer is fully aware of their responsibilities when taking delivery of a new scooter. TGA provides the correct information to ensure that all TGA mobility scooter owners can enjoy stress-free and safe scooter driving, both on and off-road. To raise awareness of mobility scooter safety we have put together these 8 Top Tips below.
We hope these will keep you and fellow road/pavement users safe at all times, let you enjoy your freedom without any worries and encourage all mobility scooter users to become safe and considerate drivers:-
When you purchase a mobility scooter or power-chair it is important to remember that you are the owner of a vehicle that must be driven according the Highway Code.
1. Do I drive on the Road or the Pavement?
First you need to check which classification your mobility scooter comes under. It will either be a 'Class 2' 4mph scooter, or a 'Class 3' 8mph scooter.
The 'Class 2' scooter must only be driven on the pavement (except when crossing the road)
The 'Class 3' scooter can legally drive on the road or on the pavement. If you do decide to drive on the road you must always follow the Highway Code rules, as if you are driving a car, such as driving on the left-hand side, using lights at night and obeying all traffic signs and signals.
2. Driving a Mobility Scooter on the Pavement
When driving on the pavement it is important to remember that pedestrians have the right of way. This means that as a mobility scooter user you must yield to people walking and give them plenty of space and time to move out of the way.
This is paramount for elderly pedestrians, who may have visual or hearing impairments, young children and people with disabilities. Three-wheel scooters such as the TGA Breeze S3 or the Breeze Midi 3 offer excellent manoeuvrability for negotiating busy pavements, and crowds of people.
If you are using a 'Class 3' 8mph scooter on the pavement it must be limited to 4mph when driving near pedestrians.
3. Moving Your Scooter Off the Pavement
This is when you should take extra care. It is always best to look for drop kerbs, as these keep you more stable, and worth doing a bit of a detour to find one.
If you are unable to find a dropped kerb then approach the kerb absolutely face on. This will reduce the risk of tipping sideways as you mount or dismount the pavement.
Always check with your scooter manufacturer as to the height of kerbs that can be safely tackled, otherwise you run the risk of exceeding the capabilities of your machine, potentially damaging your scooter or putting your safety at risk. Several TGA scooters have independent suspension so stability when riding over kerbs or uneven ground is maximised.
4. Driving a Mobility Scooter on the Road
Your mobility scooter must be a 'Class 3' 8mph vehicle and fully equipped for road use. It must have the following:-
- Rear lights
- Flashing Indicators
It is advisable to wear high visibility clothing throughout the day to ensure you can be seen. At TGA we supply a wide range of high-visibility accessories including adjustable reflective armbands, flashing LED smart bars and gilets.
Even if you are wearing high-visibility clothing you MUST NOT drive in cycle or bus lanes, or on motorways!
You can technically drive on a dual carriageway with a flashing beacon, however, for your safety TGA would highly recommend taking an alternative route.
When at junctions always take extra care. Always be aware that other road users may not have seen you and may do something unexpected, like pulling out in front of you.
Turning right can be particularly hazardous, especially when you have to move in to the middle of a busy road. Don't just rely on your mirrors before manoeuvring, as this may lead to a misjudgement of vehicle speed; always physically look behind you before pulling out. Options to help with turning right are: -
- Stopping by the left kerb. Crossing in one move when there is no traffic.
- Negotiating the turn similar to a pedestrian by crossing the road via as many pavements as possible.
At roundabouts it is always best to seek an alternative route instead of driving amongst circulating traffic.
5. Parking Your Mobility Scooter
Normal on-road parking restrictions apply to mobility scooters.
If you need to leave your scooter unattended on the footpath ensure that it will not cause an obstruction to pedestrians.
If you are a member of the Blue Badge scheme then you will be eligible for parking concessions. Details can be found on the DirectGov (https://www.gov.uk/apply-blue-badge) website.
6. Should I Have Insurance?
Although it is not a legal requirement, it is strongly advised that people take out insurance to cover personal safety, other people's safety and the value of the vehicle. TGA Mobility advisors can assist if you have any queries about mobility scooter insurance call 01787 882244.
7. What should I do to prepare myself for going out on my mobility scooter?
Although there are no legal eyesight requirements, good vision is important to drive a mobility vehicle safely and you should be able to judge distances, recognise obstacles and hazards, and
be able to see pedestrians and other road users. Poor eyesight could be a contributory factor in an incident and could make you liable for a compensation claim.
If you regularly take medication that makes you drowsy, you should consider whether it would be safe to use a mobility scooter. If you are in any doubt, consult your doctor. You should not use any mobility vehicle if you have been drinking alcohol
8. Safe Scooter Driving Assessments
If you are using a mobility vehicle for the first time, or if it is a while since you have driven on the road, you are strongly advised to get some training to ensure that you can steer and control the vehicle properly. You can contact the Forum of Mobility Centres to find out where you can get a safety assessment http://www.mobility-centres.org.uk/find_a_centre/ or try the Queen Elizabeth Foundation for Disabled People http://qef.org.uk/our-services/mobility-services/assessments/wheelchair-and-mobility-scooters/
There is no need to be nervous, as there are no exams to take. Each session is just a practical guide on a safe test track so you can become aware of your capabilities.
Jill Akerman of Caister-on-Sea, who owns a TGA Supersport took a scooter driving proficiency test run by the Norfolk Police. "It was a great experience for me and I am so pleased I attended. I was instructed around a course of obstacles and shown safe ways of manoeuvring, especially reversing. I would recommend it to everyone who owns a scooter!" TGA also provide a free safe scooter driving assessments at their Suffolk showrooms in Sudbury. You can book an appointment to be evaluated by one of the friendly advisors on either your own TGA model or by selecting a new scooter.
The professional TGA advisor will assess your capabilities around a simple test track and offer advice on how to safely negotiate everyday obstacles and pedestrians. This free service ensures that you are a safer mobility scooter driver and are driving exactly the right scooter for your needs.
Article Submitted by www.tgamobility.co.uk