The Essential Guide to Staying Safe in Your Mobility Scooter in The UK The modern mobility scooter is equipped with an array of safety features, all designed to keep the user out of harm’s way whilst out and about. However, that does not mean that extra care and precautions aren’t required. Whether you take your mobility scooter on the roads or you stick to the footpaths, a simple journey to the local shops can be fraught with danger if you aren’t constantly vigilant. If you’re currently considering the purchase of a mobility scooter, or you simply want some advice on how to stay safe, the Highway Code for Electric Scooters is available from the British Healthcare Trades Association. It is full of tips and advice on how to safely use mobility scooters – on and off the roads. Check a Few Things before You Purchase Your Scooter Firstly, you need to decide what you want from your scooter. If you simply want it for use on pavements and in shopping centres, a class 2 scooter should be sufficient. It will achieve a maximum speed of 4 miles per hour, and it will usually be the cheapest option. A class 3 scooter – capable of speeds of 8 miles per hour – is required of you want to drive on the roads. You should be completely confident with the controls of a scooter – particularly if it is meant for the road. You should never buy before taking a test drive, as different scooters can produce completely different drives. Make sure you attempt every possible manoeuvre, including ascending kerbs, climbing, 360-degree turns, reversing and descending. You should be able to find a seating position that is comfortable and provides a clear field of vision. Driving Off Road The first thing to remember is that you must give way to pedestrians, and you are responsible for ensuring they do not come to harm as a result of your driving on a footpath. When climbing kerbs, always approach them at an angle of 90 degrees. Some scooters are designed to ascend kerbs backwards, so always check the user manual for instructions. Don’t ask your scooter to attempt the impossible; if it looks dangerous, find another route. You should also keep in mind that mobility scooters are heavy, powerful machines. Although they are only capable of a top speed of 8 miles per hour, they can cause serious injury to a pedestrian in a collision. When driving in shops, malls and on pavements, limit your speed to 4 miles per hour, and never take your eyes off the path ahead. Driving on the Road Driving on the road puts you in a very vulnerable position, but sometimes you may not have a choice. A certain amount of personal judgement is required when deciding which roads to drive on. Don’t attempt to drive on particularly busy roads, dual-carriageways or stretches of road with bus lanes. You should always follow the basic rules of the road, so never drive against the traffic. Obey all traffic signals, and always use mirrors and indicator lights – in the same way as if you were driving a car. A scooter is like most other mobility aids; it is designed to make the life of those with disabilities as rewarding and independent as possible. However, owning such a vehicle comes with responsibility. Treat your mobility scooter like a car; have it serviced regularly, obey the Highways Code and make sure all your lights and brakes are in good condition. Take all of these precautions, and there is no reason why your scooter shouldn’t provide you with the freedom and independence you have a right to expect. Company Profile: The Mobility Superstore is an online store specializing in independent living products. Connect with us on Google+ for more useful tips.