Most mobility scooters designed to travel on pavements only reach a top speed of 4 mph. However, this is faster than the average pedestrian’s walking pace. Therefore, if scooters are being driven through crowds or overtaking a pedestrian from behind accidents can easily happen. Especially as they have quiet electric motors.
Although no official statistics exist for the number of accidents involving mobility scooters, there seems to be an increase in reports of them across the country.
Recent cases have involved settlements of £16,000 when a woman in Rhyl struck a Morrisons’ shop worker, and more than £32,000 when an 81-year-old woman suffered a fractured hip when she was knocked over by a scooter reversing into her. Other incidents include scooters being steered into shop windows, a variety of injuries to pedestrians, mobility scooters trundling along motorways and even people driving off railway platforms.
Insurance is not required by law for your mobility scooter, but with the increase in claims it is recommended you have at least third party insurance. This will cover you for a variety of incidents, such as where someone may be injured, if you have knocked them over or, say, run over their foot; damage to someone’s property; knocking over a display of expensive goods; scraping a parked car; or if you cause an accident.
Gerry Bucke, general manager at Chartwell Insurance says, “Some personal injury solicitors see accidents involving mobility scooters as a growth area for potential claims. It’s becoming increasingly important for people to make sure they have adequate protection in place. The costs involved in taking out a policy are relatively small, but the consequences of having no cover in place at all are potentially ruinous.”
Gerry adds, “Some insurers, but by no means all, provide third party liability up to varying financial limits under their home insurance cover. However, owners should not rely on this without checking the exact wording.”
Chartwell’s Mobility Scooter policy includes damage, theft and breakdown, as well as liability cover for up to £2million as standard. This will cover you if you are sued for damages, for example if you injure a member of the public or if someone else’s property is damaged in a collision.
To aid safe driving of mobility scooters on pavements it is important to remember that pedestrians have priority and that not all will see you. Those with sight or hearing impairments, the elderly and disabled people might not be aware you are there, and they may not move out of your way.
It makes sense to get trained before you start driving a scooter. There are a number of training courses around, such as Norfolk Constabulary’s Safe Scoot road safety training course and ScootAbility in Camden and Islington.