United Mobility Training campaigns for mandatory mobility scooter training

Paula Massey giving a talk to OTs

According to figures released by the Department of Transport, there were 260 reported accidents in 2016, equating to a 17% increase on the previous year. Alarmingly, the number of fatalities in 2016 increased by 75% of the eight fatalities reported in 2015.

Paula Massey, Director of United Mobility Training, has been campaigning for many years to introduce mandatory training for all users of mobility scooters. 

Offering training, in association with TJ Services Wales Ltd, Paula aims to reduce the risk to the general public and to ensure that drivers of mobility scooters have the necessary skills and confidence to drive independently and safely.

Paula told THIIS: "There are currently over 350,000 mobility scooter users in Britain, driving on public roads and pavements with no legal requirement to undertake any form of training before use. This puts the user, other vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians at significant risk.”

The Highway Code states in Rule 37 that when on the road, mobility scooters should obey the same   guidance and rules as other vehicles and when on the pavement, scooters should follow the   guidance and rules of pedestrians. All drivers of a vehicle have had to pass rigorous tests in order to obtain a licence, yet she notes this is not currently required for drivers of mobility scooters.

On the 3rd March 2010, a Consultation on proposed changes to the laws governing powered mobility scooters and powered chairs (DfT-2010-10) stated that the 1988 Regulations are out of date. A review of Class 3 mobility scooters was also published on behalf of the DfT in 2005.

Paul suggests that best practice would be for every retailer to offer training to all mobility scooter users making a purchase, helping ensure that the scooters are not only suitable for the customers’ needs but that customers are also sufficiently able to use the scooters safely.

"Just riding around a store for a short while is not sufficient enough for users to gain an understanding of the power of the scooter, or to learn the skills required to drive in public spaces with the associated hazards of pedestrians, obstacles and traffic," she said.

"Additionally, market research has identified that many users complained of a lack of training and little knowledge of what to expect when using the scooters in public, with only a handful actually admitting they didn’t need training.”

With an increase in the use of mobility scooters and an increase in the amount of traffic on the roads generally, United Mobility Training is offering courses focusing on making safety a priority.

The courses are delivered over a three-hour session, starting with a one-hour introduction of the necessary elements of the Highway Code and safety aspects of driving on the road, whilst also covering what to do in the event of breakdown, accident or fall and if the pavement is blocked and can’t be passed.

The importance of insurance is also explained in detail, with insurance for mobility scooter users not being a mandatory requirement but highly recommended by the Government.

The remaining two hours centre on practical training for how best to navigate around obstacles, pedestrians, kerbs, doorways etc. 

According to Paula, during the practical driving, high levels of supervision and instruction are available to ensure maximum experience and safety and in addition, one-to-one home tuition and follow up programmes are also available.

Paula told THIIS that she would like to run this programme nationwide and would appreciate any feedback from the industry by contacting her via email on paula@umat.co.uk or by calling 07811591771

Do you believe mobility scooter training should be mandatory? Let THIIS know your thoughts by contacting calvin@thiis.co.uk