The Definitive Guide to Mobility Scooter Safety
When you’re getting a mobility scooter for the first time, one of the concerns that you might have is whether it’s safe to ride a mobility scooter. After all, you’re in control of a vehicle that has more power behind it than a bike and less protection than a car. But there’s really no need to worry about riding a mobility scooter. They’re perfectly safe to use and people using mobility scooters rarely get into accidents, compared to how often it happens to drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.
To make using a mobility scooter even safer, it helps to be aware of the safety features available and how you should handle your scooter to stay safe at all times. This guide will help you to use a mobility scooter safely so you can get more from it.
Will a Mobility Scooter Help You?
A mobility scooter may not be right for everyone, so it’s important to check that you are a good candidate for using one before you buy one. You can talk to your doctor or occupational therapist about whether a mobility scooter is a good choice for you. If your mobility is impaired in some way or you find it difficult to walk long distances for any reason, a mobility scooter could help you to gain some more independence.
Buying a Mobility Scooter
As well as knowing whether a mobility scooter will help you, it’s also useful to make sure you choose the right mobility scooter. You need one that’s the right size for your size and weight and can traverse the type of terrain that you want to cover. You might also be looking for a scooter with an extra seat, space for storage, or other extra features
When you buy your scooter, it’s important to ensure you get it from a reputable and trustworthy seller. This helps to ensure that you purchase a scooter that is in good working order and that you can resolve any issues that you might have with it. Your scooter should be compliant with the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) to ensure it’s safe. You can buy a second-hand scooter to save money, but it’s best to buy it from a responsible dealer.
Learn to Use Your Scooter
A mobility scooter is fairly easy to use, but it’s smart to have some instruction to help you learn to use it safely. You don’t need a license or anything to ride one, but you should make sure that you receive instruction on how to ride it. Most disability scooters are simple to operate and should come with a manual to help you. You can also find videos online or get instruction in person. It’s a good idea to practice riding your scooter in a safe area before you decide to take it out and about.
Stay Safe on Your Scooter
Once you’re ready to get out and about, it’s useful to know a few rules that will help you to stay safe when you’re riding your mobility scooter. Here are some of the things that you should keep in mind when you’re on your scooter.
Make Yourself Visible
It’s always important to be visible to other people who may be using the path or the road if it’s necessary to leave the footpath. People need to be aware of you, whether they are walking, driving, or riding a bicycle. A safety flag helps to make you more visible, and reflective strips are also useful, especially in the dark. Consider wearing a reflective jacket or sash too.
Stay on Footpaths
It’s best to only use footpaths as much as you can, as they are by far the safest place to ride your mobility scooter. If you do need to go onto the road, look where you’re going and make sure that drivers can see you. Watch out for pedestrians too. The speed on mobility scooters is limited to 10km per hour, but the average walking speed is more like 5km per hour. If you’re going a lot faster than pedestrians, it could lead to accidents, particularly if there are a lot of people about.
Avoid Overloading Your Scooter
Scooters often have plenty of handy space for carrying your things, including baskets at the front or back, or perhaps space on the floor. It’s very useful for carrying your shopping home or anything else that you might need to transport, including other mobility aids.
However, you need to be careful not to carry too much when you’re on your scooter. It’s important to be aware of the maximum weight capacity and you also need to make sure your scooter doesn’t become unbalanced because of the way you’re carrying your things. If it does, you could have a greater chance of tipping over.
Prepare for Breakdowns
Like any machinery, there’s a chance that your mobility scooter can experience mechanical problems. If you’re out and about, this could leave you stranded and unable to get where you’re going. To lower the chances of this happening, take good care of your scooter and keep the batteries charged. Carry a spare tube in case you need to pump up your tyres too. You should have your scooter serviced each year to keep it in good condition too.
It’s also a good idea to have a backup plan, in case you do break down. It’s a smart idea to carry your phone with you so that you can call someone to pick you up if necessary.
Keep Your Wheels on the Ground
Whether you have a four-wheel scooter or a three-wheel scooter, it’s important to keep all wheels on the ground at all times. If you don’t, your scooter could tip over. To make sure that you achieve this, always approach any inclines head-on and make turns slowly. Three-wheel scooters are a little more susceptible to tipping, so be extra careful if you have one.
Mobility scooters are perfectly safe if you operate them responsibly. It’s also important to choose the right scooter for your needs.