Mobility scooters were, of course, originally invented to help people with disabilities or infirmities get around and give them back a measure of independence. However, an entirely new demographic has also taken to driving around on mobility scooters. It seems that some young people have adopted the scooters as a means of getting around town and between villages.
The main advantage of mobility scooters for the young and able-bodied is their affordability. Not only are they much cheaper to buy than a car, they are also far more affordable to run: they’re not directly affected by the rising price of petrol, you don’t have to pay road tax on them and you don’t need a license to drive them.
There’s some debate over whether it’s technically legal to drive a mobility scooter without a disability. Some politicians have even called for the government to introduce clearer guidelines to prevent younger people from driving the vehicles. This seems slightly mean-spirited though. After all, it doesn’t seem like such a bad thing that young people are finding inventive ways to cope in an age of rising transport costs.
Of course, it is worth considering how safe it is to let younger (potential more reckless) drivers use mobility scooters. As we discussed in a previous blog entry, mobility scooter-related accidents are on the rise. However, that’s not to say that we need to ban certain demographics from using the vehicles. Mandatory training is another valid solution to the issue.
Wherever you stand on the issue of young people riding mobility scooters, there’s no denying that the culture around the vehicles is changing. More and more people see them as a legitimate means of transportation, which can only lead to more varied designs, wider adoption and greater acceptance of users. That’s a good thing for existing scooter drivers regardless of age!