A power scooter is a moving vehicle, and should be treated as such. As most road users know, not everyone driving a car, walking or riding a bike is paying full attention. Everyone can get distracted, and a combination of other factors can lead to accidents.
Power scooters can be involved in accidents too. Over the last decade in Australia, there were 442 hospitalisations related to mobility scooter accidents (click here for more information).
The following guide is intended to help you use your mobility scooter safely, and also provide some helpful tips.
1: Stick to the Road Rules
Under current Australian law, those using mobility equipment are considered pedestrians, and therefore must abide by the same road rules as pedestrians.
The only time you may travel on a road is if there is no suitable footpath available for you.
This means that you are not allowed to jaywalk, and must cross any roads in the straightest and most direct way, and at the pedestrian lights wherever possible.
2: Take it Easy
Although your scooter may be capable of higher speeds, the maximum permissible speed is 10 kilometres per hour. You need to be careful and mindful when near other pedestrians, especially children who may not be as aware of their surroundings as adults.
3: Be Visible
Like cyclists, having a high amount of visibility will reduce the chance of being involved in an accident. At night especially, consider some LED devices (flashing ones catch the eye more), wear light clothing and a reflective, high visibility vest or jacket over the top, and keep in mind that the sun sets very early in winter!
4: Stay in Control
If you are new to using a power scooter, make sure you choose one you can operate safely and efficiently. Try out different models before deciding on the one you want, and remember that an occupational therapist or your carer can help you learn how to use your scooter. The more effectively you can control it while you’re out and about, the better.
5: As a Pedestrian or Cyclist
If you’re sharing a walkway or footpath with someone using a mobility scooter, keep their safety in mind. If they are moving faster than you, move to the left to let them past. If you are on a bike and intend to overtake someone on a mobility scooter, use your bell and voice to let them know that you intend to pass them. Keep in mind that they may be slower to navigate and turn than someone on foot.
We trust this guide will help prevent accidents and injuries while using your mobility scooter. You may also be interested in how to properly maintain your scooter, to increase its lifespan.