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Based in Grangemouth, Scotland, mobility retailer LIDA Disability Consultants is aiming to give users vital mobility scooter training with a large and comprehensive course.

The 14,000 sqft training course will be opened as a separate business to LIDA Disability Consultants and will be called The Mobility Safety Training Centre.

With plans to start building in mid-April, the OT-led course will help people learn basic scooter safety and allow them to trial a variety of challenging surfaces, such as cobbles, kerbs and grass. When users complete the course, they will be awarded a certificate of competence.

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Discussing the new initiative, Gordon Yuill, Managing Director of LIDA Disability Consultants, told THIIS: “Mobility scooters are something I’ve always been interested in because you see people out on the roads driving really dangerously. People will complain about them being on the pavement because they can cause accidents and people will complain about them being on the road. It was something I really got into and I thought to myself ‘how could I help this situation?’”

The managing director started to carry out some research into scooter safety, gathering views and opinions from a Chinese scooter manufacturer, social media and speaking to people face-to-face.

“The one thing that kept coming up was training,” Gordon said.

Taking this on board, he looked at the current scooter safety tracks available to users and whilst he found them helpful, he felt that they didn’t accurately represent real-life scenarios. So, he decided, with his team, that they would build an indoor mobility scooter course that covered real-life scenarios and was capable of simulating daytime and night-time.

“We considered pavements, pavement size, road surfaces, pot holes, B class roads, A class roads, how water affects mobility scooters, cobbles, grass, off-road, speed bumps and more,” he explained. “We’ve covered such a wide range with our scooter safety course and we feel it represents real life situations.”

The course will start with an OT assessment, who will decide which scooter the person will use. People will then be taught the health and safety aspects and the legal side to mobility scooters. As a way to ensure people understand the potential dangers of mobility scooters, they will also be shown the aftermath of scooter accidents.

An additional part of the scooter safety course will see people have their eyesight tested, similar to in a driving test, something that isn’t a compulsory requirement for mobility scooter users.

Gordon said: “Legally, anybody that’s disabled can walk into a shop, buy a mobility scooter and go out on the main road with it. That really is scary. It is mostly the elderly or the disabled who use mobility scooters and there’s no check whatsoever to see whether they’re fit enough to actually handle that scooter.

“You need some form of insurance and some form of basic training. People need to be aware of the capabilities of these scooters; they’re not cars and they don’t have the same safety features.”

For now, the managing director hopes that people will take part in the scooter safety course and learn the basics of scooter safety. In the long-term, he would like to see a growth in scooter courses across the UK to improve safety for users.

Gordon also hopes that the Scottish Government, along with the cabinet minister for transport, will get on board with the idea of scooter training and see it as a way forward.

He concluded: “I’m disabled myself and I’ve dealt with mobility scooters for years, so I know what it’s like. I know how hard it is. If I can help somebody else and stop them from having an accident, then that to me is more rewarding than anything else.”

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