Having your mobility scooter blocked in by a vehicle as you scoot out of your local shop is common. Despite this potentially dangerous situation, you are often left raging. At the same time, the offending driver moves their car to let you get on with your shopping.
This mobility scooter safety guide aims to provide you with some helpful information. It outlines the various hazards you may encounter on the road and how to deal with them so that your journeys are as safe as possible.
Before You Go Out With Your Mobility Scooter
|Check the tires||You should always ensure that the rubber tires of your scooter are fully inflated before setting off. This is because under-inflated tires can increase the risk of your scooter tipping. If possible, always try to travel on smooth, flat surfaces and avoid the bumpy or uneven ground.|
|Wear protective clothing||To protect yourself against the weather while out on your scooter, you may want to wear some protective clothing. Keeping warm is especially important for those more sensitive to the cold, such as the elderly. If it starts raining, you may want to take a waterproof or lightweight coat with you.|
|Watch out for busier roads||If traveling on busier roads, try to avoid leaving places with lots of traffic behind you, for example leaving a car park or driving. You may want to consider crossing the road at different points so that you can be seen by drivers from all angles. While crossing the street, be aware of your surroundings and ensure it is safe to do so.|
|Metal studs for your tires for icy condition||If traveling in icy conditions, make sure your tires are fitted with metal studs. Studded tires will improve your grip in icy conditions and help prevent you from slipping.|
In Case Of An Accident With Your Mobility Scooter
If you are involved in an accident when using your scooter, you should contact the police as soon as possible. This will allow an official accident report to be filed and allow any legal proceedings to be claimed if needed. If the accident wasn’t your fault, you might be eligible for compensation from those responsible, including another driver.
Suppose you feel that you have been involved in a road traffic accident due to a driver or another user breaking the law. In that case, you may be able to take legal action against them.
The police will have documented an official report of the incident. Therefore, you can contact your solicitor to discuss the possibility of initiating proceedings. In most cases, if successful in court cases, you can receive a payout to compensate you financially for your injuries.
Scooters can be dangerous, and people who assume that they won’t get hurt while using them might make one of their biggest mistakes. It may be difficult, but once you have been in an incident, it is crucial to assess what went wrong and how this could have been prevented. The more you know about the road, other drivers, and how to protect yourself, the better your chances of avoiding an accident.
Maneuvering On The Road With A Mobility Scooter
|Traveling down the road||When traveling down the road, always position your mobility scooter near or against the curb. You should remain as close to the edge of the road as possible. That is, if traveling on a carriageway with no pavements or verges. This would prevent your scooter from being hit by a passing vehicle and minimize the risk if a collision were to occur.|
|Traveling on a carriageway with pavements or verges||If traveling on a carriageway with pavements or verges, always ensure plenty of room between yourself and the road. It is important not to pull out in front of them if you are traveling alongside moving vehicles, especially if traveling at some speed or behind large vehicles.|
|Crossing roads on your scooter||When crossing roads on your scooter, look out for traffic before doing so. This will allow you to cross when gaps between vehicles become available and help prevent you from pulling out into traffic directly in front of a car. Make sure to look out for approaching vehicles as you turn at the end of a road and give them plenty of time to stop safely without having to jam on the brakes.|
|Traveling around roads with speed humps||If traveling around roads with speed humps, always try and position your scooter in a place where you will not hit the hump. That is too much of an incline. Also, make sure anyone traveling with you is not in danger of being thrown from the vehicle. And is in a safe position away from the road.|
|Turning onto a road||Always ensure that when turning onto a road or leaving it at the end of a journey, you look out for pedestrians and other wheelchairs using the road. Allow them to clear from your path if possible before turning onto the main carriageway or crossing it at a junction.|
If Using Shared Use Paths Or Cycle Tracks With a Mobility Scooter
When traveling on shared-use paths that are found alongside roads, always ensure enough room for your scooter to get past any pedestrians, cyclists,, or other mobility vehicles. When you can do this without pushing out into the road, you should do so and only attempt to pass when there are at least five meters of clear space on either side of the path.
When joining a shared-use path from the main carriageway, make sure there is enough room for your scooter on the track before joining. Ensure that your companions are in a safe area away from the road if you are traveling with them. Not in danger of being thrown off or run over by other vehicles.
Always look out for pedestrians using shared use paths, especially if they are blocking the way of oncoming traffic. If necessary, you should always give way to pedestrians on the trail, even if they are traveling in the other direction to you.
You should keep your speed low and give yourself plenty of space to avoid someone who occupies a shared path before proceeding. This would prevent an accident if they suddenly changed direction or stopped for whatever reason.
When crossing shared use paths, do so as safely as possible and only attempt to do it when there is enough room to move out into the way. If you are traveling with someone else, make sure that the person behind you has seen what you’re doing before attempting any maneuver.
You should also make sure that pedestrians are clear from your path before attempting to cross.
If Oncoming Traffic is Blocking the Way for You and Your Mobility Scooter
Suppose oncoming traffic is blocking the way. Move out of the lane if it is unsafe. You may choose to wait until a safe opportunity presents itself before continuing along your path. This will ensure plenty of room for someone to get out of your way without having to stop or slow down harshly.
Suppose you are traveling in an area with particularly narrow roads. As a result, it may be necessary to pull onto the pavement until oncoming traffic passes safely. This will prevent any risk of collision between yourself and another vehicle.
If You Need To Cross a Dual Carriageway
Dual carriageways are incredibly dangerous for anyone on foot. Especially those using mobility scooters, as they lack the turning circle of a wheelchair and can travel much faster than pedestrians.
If you need to cross one ahead of you, there are two main options; you can either cross when there is a safe opportunity or wait until the road is clear.
If crossing when it is not particularly busy, you should ensure that there are no vehicles in your way before attempting to move out into the carriageway. If necessary, allow pedestrians to cross in front of you or behind you. So that they do not get in the way of any oncoming traffic.
To avoid being hit by another vehicle, you will need to pull up onto the pavement until it has safely passed. Doing this in an area that already has a footpath can prevent any danger from being posed to pedestrians or fellow mobility scooter users later down the path.
When It’s Not Safe to Travel with Your Mobility Scooter
Suppose it ever becomes apparent that there is a serious danger on the path. Such as another vehicle or pedestrian being unable to see your scooter due to something obstructing their line of sight. Until the area is made safe, you should pull up onto the pavement.
Suppose any objects confuse your vision, such as overgrown trees or bushes. To avoid being blocked from your view, you should make sure you are careful and take it slowly.
Roads that already have a footpath running down the side pose less of a hazard for those using mobility scooters. You can sometimes choose to share the pavement with pedestrians if it is not particularly busy. It is still possible to pull up onto the pavement in some situations until it is safe to continue.
It can be hazardous for those using mobility scooters if they attempt to share roads with vehicles that travel much faster than they do. Even cars and small motorcycles can pose a serious threat to someone unable to get out of their way in time.
Suppose a car or motorcycle is coming towards you that would not complete the maneuver safely. It is best to pull up onto the pavement until it has passed by.
Using Your Mobility Scooter Horn
Horns are handy tools for many different reasons. However, using your horn too much or incorrectly can be dangerous. Notice that there is an obstruction on the path ahead of you.
It may be necessary to use your horn to get them to move out of the way. However, if they are too far away for your horn to reach them safely, then you should not attempt this maneuver.
Horns can also be helpful for warning pedestrians of your presence if they are too close to the edge of the road and you think that they may not see you in time. Imagine that you are riding your scooter when a pedestrian is moving slowly into the path of your scooter. In that case, giving them a loud warning with your horn may be enough to get them out of the way.
You shouldn’t sound your horn if you pass a pedestrian already on the path, as they may misunderstand it as an aggressive gesture. Make sure to always leave enough space for pedestrians who are yet to cross the pavement to complete their maneuvers safely if that is the case.
Using a mobility scooter can be very rewarding; however, you need to take precautions to stay safe. You should always ensure that no obstructions could cause you harm before crossing the road. It’s generally better to pull up onto the sidewalk and wait until it is safe to proceed if fast-moving traffic is on the road.
When pulling up onto the path, it is also essential to be very cautious of any pedestrians who may still be passing by. You should always give them plenty of warning before pulling out so that they can get out of your way safely. Horns are handy tools to have on your mobility scooter. However, they should only be used when necessary to ensure that you are not endangering yourself or anyone else.
However, if you use your horn, you must remember that it can be pretty startling to those unprepared for it. In cases where you suspect a pedestrian will not hear your horn in time, you should try to steer away from them if possible. Although using a mobility scooter can be difficult, it is worth the effort when safe on the road.
By following this guide to road safety for handicapped drivers, you should be able to keep yourself safe when out and about. Mobility scooters can be pretty complex for new users. However, with enough practice, it will become second nature in no time at all. If you want to operate your scooter safely, you should familiarize yourself with it as quickly as possible.
There is no reason that someone with reduced mobility should be placed in any dangerous situation. If you take the necessary precautions, there will be no trouble for yourself or anyone else.