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Powered Scooters and Wheelchairs to Get You Mobile in Retirement

By: Sally Aquire - Updated: 23 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Powered Scooters And Wheelchairs To Get You Mobile In Retirement

If walking is proving difficult, powered scooters and wheelchairs can be a godsend. They allow you to be much more mobile than might otherwise have been the case, but they both have their advantages and disadvantages. Here, we offer advice on the two types of mobility equipment.

Using Powered Scooters and Wheelchairs on the Pavement

There are two types of powered scooters and wheelchairs: those that are designed to be used on the pavement, and those that are designed to be used on the road, as well as on the pavement. The pavement-only types have a top speed of 4 miles per hour, while the road types are slightly faster and can reach 8 miles per hour.

When using powered scooters and wheelchairs on the pavement, you must give way to pedestrians, as they have the right of way. You must not exceed the 4 miles per hour speed limit, particularly where pedestrians are present as they may not be able to get out of the way before you can slow down.

When crossing roads, always make sure that it's safe for you to leave the pavement before you. Use dropped kerbs whenever possible as these make it easier for the scooter or wheelchair to negotiate the transition.

Using Powered Scooters and Wheelchairs on the Road

Using the pavement is the best option, but if this is not possible, there are some basic rules you should follow when using your powered scooter or wheelchair on the roads.

As you will be going much more slowly than the vast majority of the other vehicles on the road, you need to be extra careful to avoid accidents. Follow the general flow of the traffic so that other vehicles are running in front, behind and alongside you in the same direction as you, instead of coming towards you.

If you're travelling at night, you must switch on your lights (if your scooter or wheelchair has these). It's not uncommon for other roads users to find it more difficult to see you, so lights are necessary for safety purposes. For the same reason, reflective safety clothing is advisable.

When approaching major roundabouts and junctions, it's safer to go back on the pavement. If this isn't impossible, stick to the left-hand side of the road until a safe gap emerges in the traffic. Some junctions will simply be too dangerous to safely negotiate, in which case planning an alternative route can provide a better option.

Using Powered Scooters and Wheelchairs on the Motorway

Powered scooters and wheelchairs are not allowed on motorways (or on unrestricted dual carriageways with a speed limit of more than 50 miles per hour unless you're displaying a flashing amber beacon to alert other road users to your presence). On all other dual carriageways, the flashing amber beacon must be visible.

Parking Powered Scooters and Wheelchairs

Parking a powered scooter or wheelchair is much the same as parking any other vehicle. You can get concessions under the Blue Badge Scheme (see our article on this for more details).

Powered scooters and wheelchairs make life a lot easier if you're finding it difficult to get around, but you need to be aware of the basic rules of using them to stay safe.

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