In the last few years there has been a big increase in the number of mobility scooters on our paths and in shopping centres due to the ageing population and cheaper scooters being developed, and this looks set to increase along with the number of accidents. It is estimated that there are 330,000 scooters today in the UK and 95% of all accidents are the drivers fault. What if someone was to be seriously hurt, suffered injuries that required lengthy time off work which affected their income and had long term consequences – currently with the law stating that mobility scooter drivers do not need insurance, where are these people to turn for compensation for their injuries? At present the law does not require you to have accident insurance or hold a licence, you do not even have to pass a proficiency test to drive a scooter. Why are scooter drivers not viewed the same way as other motorists? Some say that to change the law will affect the vulnerable population and add extra costs to many people who rely on their scooters to maintain their independence, but they would have to have bought their own scooter in the first place as they are not provided for them.
Fact: in 2015 there were nine fatal road accidents involving mobility scooters according to figures collated by 29 out of 44 police forces in England and Wales. Also 46 serious injuries occurred and 153 minor injuries. These statistics do not state whether it was the scooter owner that died or whether it was someone hit by the scooter but they are telling statistics. We understand from our research that all police forces will be due to report statistics on accidents involving mobility scooters from this year. Government advice currently states “You can’t drive on bus lanes, cycle only lanes, or on motorways. You should avoid dual carriageways with a speed limit of over 50mph. Insurance for mobility scooters is not compulsory but is recommended. Advice for sure, but surely with the ageing population, and the likelihood we will be seeing more scooters on our pathways and roads, it is time for the law to be changed, to protect both the general public and indeed the scooter owners themselves.
Reply from:- Department of Transport
We are keen that people who use both mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs remain safe, mobile and independent. Therefore it is strongly recommended that they avail themselves of existing advice and training and that they take out insurance cover. This is reinforced in the guidance ‘Mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs on the road – some guidance for users’ which is intended to help people who use mobility vehicles, this guidance also reinforces the relevance of Highway Code advice, and it can be found on the Government advice website. Turning to the issue of insurance although it is not a legal requirement, we strongly recommend that people take out insurance to cover personal safety, other people’s safety and the value of the vehicle. We have no plans to mandate on this issue. Creating a consistent, reliable mobility scooter policy which balances the interests of all road users continues to be a challenge.