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Hold the front page! Official mobility scooter advice is actually quite useful!

Last week the Daily Mail ran a story on the Department of Transport’s newly published booklet, Mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs on the road – some guidance for users. The paper had some lighthearted jibes at the advice, the overall theme seemingly being that it stated the obvious and, worse, was patronising.

It was perhaps a little unfair as much of the points criticised were in fact lifted from the Highway Code – that is they are directed at all road users.

In fact this free booklet, which you can download here, provides a pretty sensible overview of good practice and the law when it comes to riding mobility scooters on both pavements and roads. Whilst it’s clearly targeted at mobility scooter users, other road and pavement users could also learn from it. For example, it details the three different classes of mobility vehicle (manual wheelchairs, powered wheelchairs or scooters with a speed limit of 4mph and powered wheelchairs or scooters with a speed limit of 8mph) and the laws and regulations which apply to them. I wonder how many average newspaper readers are aware that non-disabled people are not legally able to use mobility scooters or powered wheelchairs in public unless demonstrating them for sale? Very few.

For obvious reasons it focuses on Class 2 and 3 vehicles, not manual wheelchairs. It talks through a wide range of issues including where you can use a mobility scooter or powered wheelchair, using public transport, DVLA registration requirements, the design features which vehicles must incorporate and some excellent advice on how to choose the best mobility scooter for you.

We were naturally also pleased to see the Department of Transport making no bones about its desire that mobility scooter owners take out appropriate insurance. The booklet notes uncompromisingly that “it is strongly advised that people take out insurance to cover personal safety, other people’s safety and the value of the vehicle.” It’s good advice because it now seems rarely a week goes by without some sort of incident involving a mobility scooter being reported. These can be costly, emotionally, physically and financially, especially when cases end up in the criminal or civil courts. Ironically, the latest incident to be spotted by our news radar involved a mobility scooter user who one imagines to be blissfully unaware of this handy new booklet: a hit-and-run rider who knocked over a 90 year-old woman. You can read this story, here in the Mail!

* Want to protect yourself and other road and pavement users? Fish offers affordable mobility scooter insurance from just £75. This protects against theft and accidental damage with other benefits including up to £2 million cover against personal injury and liability for personal attendants, replacement vehicle hire allowance, use by any rider and recovery costs to get you and your mobility scooter safely home. For details or to buy click here.

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