Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a new mobility scooter rider, there will always be an element of risk on the pathways. Sometimes, pedestrians don’t notice you or just aren’t paying attention and it could leave you – and them – in a tricky situation. You need to ensure you are safe while using the scooter because it’s there to enhance your mobility. So, what top safety tips could ensure you stay safe while using your mobility scooter?
Inspect Your Scooter Before You Take It Out
You probably don’t think about checking your lights or tires before venturing out; however, this is crucial. Just because you’re using a mobility scooter doesn’t mean you never have to lift a finger. Tires can need changing and lights replaced. You should always maintain the scooter as well as you can, and ensure you use the lights during the evening or when it’s misty or foggy. You want to be clearly visible to all road and sidewalk users.
Don’t Overload Your Scooter
You’ve been on a busy shopping trip. Your front basket is full and even has a small parcel at your feet. You’re tempted to hang a few shopping bags off the handlebars. It’s a nice idea, especially when the journey home is long. Unfortunately, it’s potentially dangerous to do this. The weight of the bags could cause the scooter to tip over and you could be seriously hurt. Or the bags could rip and damage whatever you’ve purchased. It’s an unnecessary risk.
Learn the Controls Before You Head Out onto the Streets
You should take sufficient time to learn how to control the scooter before taking it out onto the streets. When you aren’t used to the scooter, even if you’ve used one before, you can become a nuisance. For example, this is your first mobility scooter, and you aren’t used to the controls. You’re taking the scooter out for the first time to visit family. Your route takes you past several main roads, but you aren’t too familiar with the controls. You intend to break at the traffic lights, but you accidentally accelerate and end up in the middle of traffic.
It is a major risk to your safety and could result in you being seriously hurt. Instead, take a local test drive in the local area. For instance, you could test the controls in your garden or in an area where the roads are quieter. This allows you to learn steering with ease.
Stay Clear of Busy Roads
While some mobility scooters can be perfectly roadworthy, most tend not to be. Most mobility scooters are for sidewalks only and as such, you should never venture out on the road. It’s tempting, especially if you have a scooter that can build up a fair amount of speed; however, it’s risky. Remember, vehicles are more powerful than your scooter. Cars, trucks, vans, and every other vehicle on the road, are bigger and run at faster speeds. You could be seriously hurt.
For example, you’re on a busy main road. You are an inch or two off the curb; traffic is whizzing past you and one careless driver doesn’t spot you. The driver hits your mobility scooter and while it isn’t a head-on collision, it’s enough to put you into the hospital for several weeks. That is a lucky scenario because you could also end up fatally wounded. Instead, keep to the sidewalks as it’s generally safer for mobility scooters.
Choose A Sensible Speed
A lot of mobility scooter riders are happy to plod along at ten miles per hour; it might seem slow, but this pace is less likely to cause trouble. For example, you are going at a high rate of speed. You pass several pedestrians and are lucky to avoid them. Unfortunately, around the corner, a child is playing, and they can’t get out of your way in time. You hit the child and they are badly hurt. You are liable because you’re going at a rate that’s unnecessary.
Despite what you might think, a mobility scooter can cause serious injury if it hits a person. It’s a powerful object. Instead, keep a speed that’s sensible for yourself and other road users. Remember, even if a pedestrian doesn’t jump out at you, you could take a corner too fast and topple over. A sensible speed is more about your safety as well as pedestrian safety.
Wear High Vis to Be Visible to All Road Users
Regardless of how far you plan to travel, it’s essential to be visible to pedestrians and vehicles. For example, it’s a misty day. It’s blustery with gale-force winds and heavy rain lashing down. You’re making your way to visit a local doctor’s surgery and stop to cross the road. You ease off the sidewalk and edge out into traffic; you make it almost to the other side and a vehicle strikes the scooter. It’s a minor bump but you and your scooter are knocked over. However, this may have been avoidable if you had been wearing a high-visibility jacket.
It is essential to be clearly visible to all road users, regardless of whether you’re crossing the road or otherwise. There are lots of simple high visibility accessories you could use on your mobility scooter. They don’t cost a lot of money but could help save your life.
Don’t Assume Pedestrians and Cyclists Will Give You Right of Way
You must share a sidewalk with foot pedestrians, cyclists, and other mobility scooter users. You not only have to be courteous in certain situations, but you can’t assume you have the right of way. A lot of people assume they have a greater right to be on a sidewalk ahead of others. This is the wrong stance to take because it’ll cause a lot of problems. For example, you are trying to get into a store. There are at least a dozen other shoppers in front of you and who’s also been waiting at the store before you.
While they might tell you to go ahead of them, you shouldn’t assume they will. That is rude and could cause a few safety issues too. It’s the same with cyclists. A cyclist might stop to allow you to cross a road safely; however, you can’t assume they will. Not everyone is so considerate.
Be Safe with Your Mobility Scooter
A mobility scooter can be a lifeline for those with limited mobility or those who find it difficult to stand and walk for prolonged periods. Mobility scooters may allow you to keep your independence too, so it’s crucial to use them safely. You not only have to be careful of vehicles, but of other pedestrians. Take the necessary precautions to stay safe. You’d be surprised with how easy it is to turn a mobility scooter into a death trap; so, learn how to use the scooter and always be visible.