They are hardly what you might call the proverbial boy racer, with more than a quarter of a million mobility scooters on British roads, the number of them here in Ireland has grown. But despite having a top speed of just eight miles per hour, Mayo County Council has become so concerned about the potential for accidents involving mobility scooter drivers, it has decided to offer free training lessons.
At present operators of these vehicles are exempt from road traffic rules—they do not need to take a driving test or have a licence to use a scooter and there is also no legal requirement for insurance.
Mayo County Council and the Irish Wheelchair Association in Mayo have joined forces to deliver the sessions, to teach users about the legal requirements of owning and using a scooter and the skills required to drive their machine safely.
The Mobility Safe will involve a mixture of theory and hands-on sessions with attendees using a variety of mobility scooters, or their own machines, to navigate their way around a series of obstacle courses and day-to-day situations. At mobility scooter awareness courses users are taught basic manoeuvres such as starting off, reversing, negotiating shopping aisles, and are made aware of speed limits. A DVD will provide essential information for responsible scooter users to help them, and others, stay safe.
Noel Gibbons road safety officer said: “The aim of the project is to help people with mobility issues to maintain their independence while enhancing their own safety and confidence on our roads and other public areas, mobility scooters are essential lifelines.”
Dates for the sessions have not yet been set, but anyone interested in attending one of the sessions should contact the road safety office at Mayo County Council.