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We'll even come to you

Safety while beeing Out & About on your scooter

A Mobility Scooter, Powerchair or Electric wheelchair can be a terrific tool in regaining some freedom and independence. These aids allow you to get out & about on your own and run your errands, or simply be able to keep up with your grandchildren!However, there are a few things that need to be taken into account to ensure you stay safe while enjoying your new ride.

Know the local road rules
Make sure your read through your local road rules regarding mobility scooters and other powered aids. If you are situated in Western Australia, Mainroads WA is the authority to go to for this information. They have put together a small booklet which can be found here.   This guide is very useful, and you will see that it will list most of the points that I have touched on below.

Walk or Ride
This can be a tough one to answer as everybody is different, but we firmly believe that if you can walk try and walk. If you stop walking altogether, you will find your mobility starting to decline rapidly. At the same time, we advise all our customers not to wait too long with getting used to riding a mobility aid as it can get harder as time passes by. My suggestion is to use your mobility scooter for trips that you would ask family or friends to give you a ride or would catch a bus on and continue walking your usual errands while comfortable to do so. This way you will keep up your mobility, get used to your gopher and be able to do things independently again!

Planning your Journey
Even if you used to drive to the local shops in your car in the past make sure you plan your route, as you will have to consider different factors when using your mobility-scooter than when driving a car. The next time someone gives you a lift to the shops make sure you pay attention to the location of footpaths, traffic lights or other safe crossings and alternative routes you could take. This way you won't get stuck having to ride on the road or crossing the road where it isn't safe to do so. You can also use public transport on your mobility scooter. I have written a separate blog about that which you can read up on here.

Choosing the right Scooter

When Planning your Journey you should also take into account the type of mobility scooter that you have. Different scooters are available for different uses and using these outside of their intended use may make it unsafe. For example travel Scooters, these are marvelouse for taking with you on holidays or putting in the boot of your car and using them at the shopping centre. However alot of these are not designed for outdoor use. They often lack suspension and have very small wheels or three wheels. These Scooters are not intended for taking on long journeys, maneuvering curbs or traveling on trains. On the other hand large heavy duty / all terraine scooters are well suited at outdoor use and you can nearly go anywhere on these, however if you are looking at using public transport regularly you will probably find a medium sized scooter a lot better suited at the task as the large models can be frustrating and hard to handle in confined spaces. If you are unsure of what scooter is the right choice for you, you can find out more about the different types of scooters here.

Footpath or Road
While you are allowed to use your mobility aid on roads if there is no footpath, using the street is significantly more dangerous than using the pathway. Therefore try and make sure you choose roads with footpaths when you are planning your route whenever possible.

Protective Clothing and Visibility
Beeing on a mobility device, you are less protected than beeing in a car and also less visible. We recommend wearing a Hi-Vis West, having a Safety Flag or similar when travelling, especially if you will have to travel on roads. While it is not mandatory to wear a helmet or a seatbelt it is recommended to do so to protect yourself in a case of an accident.

Some other things to note:

  • Make sure you park your mobility device in a safe and protected area where it doesn't obstruct an entrance or exit and remember to take your key with you
  • Take special care when riding on Car Parks or when crossing driveways as cars may be reversing out.
  • You aren't allowed to travel faster than 10km/h on any footpath
  • Make sure you get your scooter checked regularly to ensure it's in good working order.
  • Ensure you change your battery and tyres when required

I hope this gives you a small overview on what to pay attention to when getting out & about on your scooter.

On a personal note... We see many customers on a daily basis that love their gophers, and many say that they are great that they didn't leave it too late to get a mobility scooter. While Jackie (picture on the right) gets out & about on her scooter and is brave enough to go to new areas and explore the Mandurah foreshore on a beautiful day, she did mention the importance on doing your research and by taking it step by step. She finished by saying with a big laugh: "like everything else, it just takes practice! For me beeing an old codger it takes longer than for most others... "


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