Due to the alarming rise in accidents involving mobility scooters in recent years, Greater Manchester Police organised a mobility scooter awareness session on 4th December.
The session took place at Clayton Brook, and was open to anybody who already used a scooter and for those who are considering buying one.
Police officers were available all day to offer practical advice and guidance on road safety aspects of riding mobility scooters, as well as giving users practical exercises and practice sessions to inexperienced riders using scooters without the extra hazards of pedestrians and moving traffic.
According to research figures, there have been 15 reported incidents over the past five years that involved mobility scooters, five of which were fatal – four of those occurring in the past two years alone, two serious injuries and eight slight injuries.
This pilot session run by the Greater Manchester Police, was held with the hope of more being run in the future to better enable mobility scooter users keep safe on the roads and avoid accidents.
Inspector Susan Redfern from the Roads Policing Unit in Chadderton commented in a press interview with Rochdale Online: “Mobility scooters offer users a sense of freedom and while we do not want to discourage people from using them, we do want to ensure that they are used safely.
“We are finding that many mobility scooter users haven’t driven in years, if at all, and their knowledge of the Highway Code is therefore limited.
“By taking a bit of time to familiarise themselves with the rules of the road, users will have more confidence to enjoy the outside world and we can hopefully reduce the number of collisions.”
While there will always be a level of risk associated with any form of motorised transport, it is helpful that Manchester Police are trying to raise awareness of the dangers of using mobility scooters, and want to help reduce those risks by offering some common sense training to anyone considering using a scooter for the first time, as well as helping existing users become more familiar with potential hazards they may encounter while out and about on the roads.
Mobility scooters offer disabled people a great opportunity for a better quality of life, so courses like these can help scooter users become more confident while out and about, while alerting them to potential dangers, and ways to avoid accidents along the way.
Greater Manchester Police are not the only force to offer safety help and guidance for mobility scooter users. Many areas are now getting involved in raising awareness, such as Norfolk Constabulary, who in partnership with Halfords, has also launched a scheme called Safe Scoot to help raise awareness of safety issues.
Safe Scoot was launched at the Royal Norfolk Show back in 2010. It was set up as a best practice guide to running awareness courses, and even enlisted popular Benidorm actress Sheila Reid to star in a short film they made as part of the scheme.
As a result of the Norfolk Constabulary’s pilot scheme their Crime Prevention Officers are now advising the Government’s Transport Committee on how best to address mobility scooter safety issues.