Sharing the road with mobility scooters

The IAM provides advice to motorists on maintaining composure and driving safely when sharing the road with users of mobility scooters.

The use of mobility scooters provides many people with the means to get around in situations which would otherwise leave them isolated and subject to depression. They are therefore an incredible part of the lives of people who have problems with mobility.

This simple fact is one which is often lost on other road users, who can often become frustrated by the challenges of sharing the road with these vital aids to mobility. To help overcome these challenges, IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman, provides the following advice to motorists:

* Larger mobility scooters have a low speed of just 8mph (13kph) but may be using the road so they need to be given space and motorists should only overtake them when it’s safe.

* Smaller mobility scooters are restricted to using footpaths and pavements. Dropped kerbs are the only way mobility and electric wheelchair users can cross a road easily. It’s also an offence to obstruct these crossing points. When parking consider whether you’re inadvertently making it trickier for a less mobile person to get around.

* Mobility scooters aren’t allowed to use cycle lanes or bus lanes so try not to get impatient if it seems they’re blocking the road – they’re obeying the law.

* While larger scooters must have full lights, the smaller ones intended for pavement use don’t need to. In addition, waterproof covers can affect the vision of the driver. Never assume you’ve been seen. And always double check before pulling out.

* You might be surprised to learn drivers in mobility scooters can technically use dual carriageways. Always expect the unexpected and be prepared for someone around the corner who may be travelling slower than you.

Richard said: “All road users have subtly different challenges and problems tend to arise when these challenges clash. But the groups aren’t mutually exclusive. The driver of a mobility scooter probably used to own a car.

“Time is always too short but a bit of understanding of these conflicting needs goes a long way in making us more amicable road users. And a bit of empathy can make us feel better too. Who doesn’t get a warm glow from a friendly thank-you wave from the driver you allowed to go first? Keep an eye out for your fellow road users and improve your own day as well as theirs.”

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