A growing number of people are using scooters and other personal mobility aids. This is due in part to the aging population, although scooters are also becoming popular with younger people who have an injury or disability. Electric mobility scooters are invaluable for people who have difficulty getting around outdoors.
Because these scooters are designed to be used on a variety of different terrains, and they can go at faster than walking speeds, they’re made to be more maneuverable than a typical motorized wheelchair.
This extra speed comes with some safety challenges, and users must be mindful of how they operate the scooter to ensure they and those around them are as safe as possible. Consider the following tips before you (or someone you care for) start using a scooter in their day-to-day life.
1. Choose a scooter that suits your needs and abilities
Mobility scooters from Easy Pay Mobility come in a variety of forms. Some are long-range, and some are built for speed. Even the seating and modes of operation can be different. Take the time to read the scooter’s specifications before you buy it, and if possible take a test drive.
After buying the scooter, read the manual carefully so you know not only how to charge it safely, but also how to operate it properly. This will not only help keep everyone safe, but it will also ensure the scooter performs at its best for as long as possible.
2. Practice in a private, open space
Before taking the scooter out into a busy public space such as a shopping mall or the local high street, try to use it in a quieter area. Ideally, this would be private land but if that isn’t an option then a quiet parking lot or a park would be a good option.
Get used to controlling the speed, starting and stopping, and the turning radius of the scooter. This is something that’s worth doing even if you’ve used a scooter before because every model is different. Just as you’d take the time to learn the reference points for parking in a new car, you need to learn how your scooter ‘drives’.
3. Stay on the sidewalk if you can
Scooters may feel fast but they’re slower than most vehicles on the road, and they’re also small and vulnerable. Get into the mindset that a scooter user is still a pedestrian and should stay on the sidewalk.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of taking shortcuts. That could be using a road instead of a footpath, or crossing the road at a spot that isn’t a designated crossing area. Motorists aren’t usually looking out for mobility scooter users specifically, and just as motorbike users are vulnerable if they’re in the blind spot of a car or van, so are mobility scooter users. In fact, scooter users are more vulnerable because they lack the acceleration of a motorbike, and the rider probably isn’t wearing safety gear.
Stay on the sidewalk where you’re less vulnerable, and you’ll get to your destination more safely.
4. Confirm your route before traveling
While mobility scooters are capable of crossing most forms of terrain, there may be some locations that are difficult to get to use. Rough terrain can damage the wheels and suspension, and things like steep steps might be impassable for a scooter user. Research your route before heading out, especially if you’ll be traveling alone. Make sure the venue has wheelchair ramps and that you’ve got ample time to get there in case you need to divert.
5. If in doubt, be cautious
Mobility scooters can often travel fast enough to injure a bystander. This means you should treat those around you with respect and give them plenty of space. Travel no quicker than required, and be mindful of what’s happening around you.
A scooter may feel slow compared to a car but it’s still powerful enough to potentially injure pedestrians and driving one should be done with that mindset.
Scooter Users Have a Responsibility To Those Around Them
If you need a little helping hand to get around, mobility scooters are a great option. They’re also a great responsibility. As a scooter user, you need to put safety at the top of your priority list, making sure you don’t put yourself in danger and that you also look out for the safety of those around you. If you do that, you have the potential to enjoy many years of mobility and freedom.