However, when driving a scooter, it is important that users exercise some caution, because while scooters are generally safe, their compact size can make them difficult for other road users to see.
So, in this guide, we are going to cover 6 tips to help you stay safe while out and about on your mobility scooter.
1. Make sure you choose a suitable scooter
The first step to safe scooter use is to make sure you have the right scooter for your type of disability. Speak with an Occupational Therapist before purchasing a scooter and they will give you valuable advice about which type of scooter is most suitable for you.
Our trained mobility professionals can also help you choose the right scooter. Before you go out on the road, we’ll take you on a test drive to make sure you are comfortable with the controls and feel confident at the wheel.
2. Wear high-visibility clothing
Mobility scooters can be difficult for pedestrians and other road users to see. While most scooters come fitted with lights, it is also important that you make yourself as visible as possible when out and about.
We always recommend that new users buy vital safety equipment such as high-visibility vests, safety helmets, lights and reflectors. These make it easier for other road users to see you and will keep you protected in the unlikely event of an accident.
3. Be alert to other road users
Mobility scooter users need to be alert to other road users, both on the road and pavement. So, try to expect what other users are going to do and always be on the lookout for cars reversing out of driveways or pulling out of parking spaces.
When you’re on the pavement, look out for pedestrians, particularly children and pets. Mobility scooters are very quiet and pedestrians may not know you are there, so be courteous and give people lots of space and don’t be in a rush to get past them.
4. Stay on the footpath and stick to the rules
Using a mobility scooter on the road is not recommended unless there is no alternative. So, when you’re out and about, use the footpath whenever possible, just remember to stick to the rules!
When you’re sharing a footpath with pedestrians, particularly children, you should maintain a walking speed of 4-6 km/h. If there are no other pedestrians around and you feel comfortable, you can increase your speed up to 10 km/h.
5. Secure bags when travelling
Most mobility scooters have a basket on the front to store shopping and other items. However, when you’re loading the basket, make sure the bags are properly secured so that nothing can fall out and that they do not obscure your vision. While these baskets are useful for smaller items, you should avoid carrying heavy or oversized items in them. Heavy items can make the scooter unstable and can cause it to topple over.
6. Make sure your scooter is properly maintained
Finally, like any vehicle, your scooter needs to be properly maintained if you are to stay safe. All our scooters, both new and used, come with a service package that includes an annual maintenance check.
Scooters that require maintenance outside of this service interval should always be repaired by an authorized technician. This will reduce the risk of your scooter breaking down while you are out and about.
Following these simple tips will help to keep you and other road users safe. If you would like help choosing the right mobility scooter or would like to arrange a test drive, get in touch with the mobility experts at Balance Mobility today.
Our mobility experts are available in-store at our showrooms in Tweed Heads and Biggera Waters. Or, complete the contact form here for more details.