We all see a lot more mobility scooters out there on the streets these days and when one is coming towards you its usually very easy to see them even though you might not hear much (if any) sound from them.
But whether you are a user of a mobility scooter or you’re walking, its when a mobility scooter comes from behind you that you might be completely unaware that one is about to come past you until it already is doing so.
While people might look at who is walking towards them, its not so common for people to look behind them before they change direction to cross over the pavement area of a local shopping parade for example, or might just start moving more to the left or the right in order to avoid walking into other people.
Many people make sudden movements and this can mean that at any given moment when there’s plenty of people around, what might seem like a clear route along a certain area of the pavement might suddenly become something quite different and can lead to accidents involving other members of the public.
Quite often people simply wont hear a mobility scooter coming up behind them, if there is some general noise like people talking etc then this will lower the chances even more of a mobility scooter being heard.
Sometimes you can see people who are literally startled by a mobility scooter that is whizzing right past them or they go to turn to walk in another direction and find themselves inches away from an unexpected mobility scooter passing.
While its great that they produce very little noise, this can pose a hazard when someone is completely unaware that one is coming up behind them.
Some users do use the horn on their mobility scooter but some don’t and if a user doesn’t make use of the horn when they should then this greatly increases the risk not only to other people but to themselves also.
Much like a horn on a car should not be used in anger or to warn people to get out of the way, a horn should be used to create awareness, to warn people of the danger approaching should they not notice you on your mobility scooter and decide to make a sudden movement.
Because of a lack of noise from most mobility scooters, riders need to be aware of when to reduce their speed if they expect that other members of the public may make sudden movements and changes in direction.
Avoid getting into the mindset of “oh they will see me coming” because even if you have an item of high visibility clothing on, it obviously wont make any difference when people are not facing you.
People have got used to not having to worry about cars and other vehicles driving down the pavement or through the shopping area (although of course this can happen for a number of reasons) so they don’t expect mobility scooters coming up quickly from behind them, they can be like a near silent surprise, but a rather unpleasant surprise if they were to be accidentally hit by one.
While the general public need to keep themselves alert to the possibility of mobility scooters coming up from behind them, its also the responsibility of the users of them to politely make themselves heard and let others know of their presence for the safety of all.