According to BBC News, more than 300,000 people in the UK use mobility scooters and there is growing concern about the number of accidents involving the motorised vehicles. As it stands mobility vehicles are not covered by the Road Traffic Act and you don’t require a licence to ride them, however a number of agencies have set up training courses to promote safety and reduce the number of accidents.
Chartwell Insurance, a completely independent insurance broker that offers a specialist, caring service for disabled customers, has looked into some of the courses and assessments available.
The Queen Elizabeth Foundation for Disabled People has a two-hour Mobility scooter assessment in Surrey, which provides an opportunity for individuals to try out various mobility vehicles to compare the driving styles, and also to assess their individual needs. The specialist training centre offers a flat area to practice basic skills and an outdoor track that offers slopes, paths, pedestrian crossings, cambers and kerbs, for more in-depth assessment and to highlight any additional training including, the Highway Code, that may be required. The assessment also explores the Highway Code.
Police in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, are now offering Safe Scoot – a road safety training course, which teaches scooter users road safety tips, how to negotiate a slalom of cones, and how to improve reversing skills. More information on the course and dates can be found on the Norfolk Constabulary website, along with tips, safety film featuring Sheila Reid who is well known as Madge, a mobility scooter user in the ITV comedy ‘Benidorm’.
Parkgate Mobility and South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership have teamed up to provide a road safety awareness course for mobility scooter users in South Yorkshire. The two hour, free course aims to raise road safety awareness and to provide manoeuvrability skills to mobility scooter users through discussions and practical work.
The Safety First Organisation in Essex provides a half-day Mobility Scooter and Powered Wheelchair course consisting of theory and practical exercises. Designed to give scooter drivers the confidence to ride their vehicles competently. It provides them with the knowledge of relevant legislation and maintenance requirements and also looks at preparing for the road, traffic signs and signals, and parking.
For further information the gov.uk website has the Highway Code Guide: Rules for users of powered wheelchairs and mobility scooters. An easier to understand version is available as a downloadable pdf from Road Safety Wales.