EXCLUSIVE: Department for Transport calls on mobility retailers to ensure customer safety amid rising accidents
A letter from Charlotte Vere, Baroness Vere of Norbiton and Transport Minister for Roads and Security at the Department for Transport, has been issued to mobility retailers in the industry, calling on dealers to ensure the safety of their scooter and powerchair customers.
In the letter which has been shared with THIIS, Baroness Vere highlights her concern regarding the rise in mobility scooter accidents, with 2018 seeing a 5.5 per cent rise in the number of accidents involving the powered mobility vehicles – 13 of which proved fatal.
Towards the end of 2019, two families whose loved ones were struck by mobility scooters and sustained injuries came together and started a petition, calling on the Government to review the rules and regulations governing mobility scooter usage.
Emphasising the need for scooter and powerchair users to “fully understand how to ensure their own safety and their responsibility to show consideration for other pavement users”, the letter encourages mobility dealers to provide “training at the point of sale.”
Noting that powered mobility devices are not legally categorised as motor vehicles and are therefore not subject to the same regulations, such as MOTs and driving, the Department for Transport’s letter points retailers to user guidance that it encourages dealers to share with scooter and powerchair customers.
Additionally, the letter strongly recommends that customers “take out insurance to cover personal safety, other people’s safety and the value of the vehicle.”
With many retailers already offering training and assessments, the letter may not be enough to address issues raised by mobility dealers, including the growing second-hand scooter market and online sales of the powered mobility devices.
Recently, numerous scooter safety initiatives have been organised by suppliers, retailers and third sector organisations, including joint supplier/retailer initiatives by TGA Mobility with TPG DisableAids and Pride Mobility with Shire Mobility.
There has yet to be an industry-wide, integrated approach to tackling mobility scooter and powerchair safety.
Read the letter in full below. If you have a comment or opinion regarding the Government’s call on mobility dealers or on mobility scooter safety in general, contact Calvin Barnett at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your thoughts.
The full letter
I am writing to you as a retailer of powered wheelchairs and mobility scooters and how you can help in their safe use. I am aware of and concerned about a rise in accidents involving users of powered wheelchairs and mobility scooters. I am keen that your customers fully understand how to ensure their own safety and their responsibility to show consideration for other pavement users. One of the most straightforward ways of achieving this is for you to offer and encourage your customers to undertake training at the point of sale.
Powered wheelchairs and mobility scooters are intended to provide local outdoor mobility for disabled people or those with mobility difficulties. You will know that under the two main categories a Class 2 type can travel at 4mph and is primarily intended for use on the footway or footpath. The 4mph limit is considered appropriate for pavement use as it is akin to a brisk walking pace. A Class 3 type can travel on the road at up to 8 mph, but must have the facility, via a limiter, to be driven at no more than 4 mph when used on the footpath.
As I am sure you are aware, mobility vehicles are not legally defined as motor vehicles and, therefore, the user is not required to have a driving license or to take a test. The greater mobility that users enjoy from mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs is important and the Department for Transport has issued advice and a comprehensive guide including legal requirements and relevant Highway Code information.
The guide ‘Mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs on the road – some guidance for users’, is available online at the link below and I would encourage you to draw the guide to the attention of your customers. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/411210/Mobility_Vehicle_Users_guidance.pdf
As important, is the role retailers can play so that their customers have the skills to feel confident in using these vehicles and to be aware of the situation in which they are used. A top legal speed of 4 mph – a brisk pace – may be much faster than other pedestrians in a shared space such as the pavement and may risk collision. I call on retailers to ensure that their customers are trained and equipped with these skills and to draw customers’ attention to the strong recommendation that mobility scooter users take out insurance to cover personal safety, other people’s safety and the value of the vehicle.
The Government is committed to ensuring that users of mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs remain safe, mobile and independent while at the same time maintaining the safety of pedestrians and I hope that you will assist us in achieving this aim.https://thiis.co.uk/government-calls-on-mobility-retailers-to-ensure-customer-safety-amid-rising-accidents/https://i2.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/baroness-vere-mobility-retailer-letter.jpg?fit=800%2C536&ssl=1https://i2.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/baroness-vere-mobility-retailer-letter.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Government & Local AuthoritiesNewsroomRetailer NewsSector NewsTrade Newsaccidents,Baroness Vere,Charlotte Vere,Department for Transport,DfT,fatality,insurance,mobility retailer,mobility retailers,mobility scooter,petition,powered mobility vehicles,Pride Mobility,Shire Mobility,TGA Mobility,TPG DisableAidsA letter from Charlotte Vere, Baroness Vere of Norbiton and Transport Minister for Roads and Security at the Department for Transport, has been issued to mobility retailers in the industry, calling on dealers to ensure the safety of their scooter and powerchair customers. In the letter which has been shared...Calvin BarnettCalvin Barnettcalvin@thiis.co.ukAdministratorTHIIS Magazine