Scooter Safety – The Importance of Education and Training

Scooters can be an important means for individuals to access the community and stay engaged with the community. However statistics prove that not everyone is safe using a scooter, and many of us have witnessed questionable scooter usage on the roads. Did you know that injuries due to scooter accidents cost Australia approximately $300 million every year? And that on average 6 people are killed each year and 700 injured?

The role of the Occupational Therapist (OT) is to assess an individual’s safe ability to drive a scooter and that it is the most appropriate intervention to meet their mobility needs and goals within their home and community.

At Recovery Station we provide a comprehensive assessment to ensure you or your loved one is safe to use a scooter. We also provide a scooter driving/training program that provides education and practice to encourage and optimise safe scooter behaviours.

Many people use scooters to access the community for shopping, medical appointments and to maintain social networks. Questions to consider before you organise an OT assessment include: ‘Is the scooter the best option to meet mobility needs?’, ‘Would an electric wheelchair be a better option?’, ‘What distances would be travelled?’, and ‘What environments would be accessed?’.

The OT scooter assessment has an off-road and on-road component. Before trialing the scooter the OT will first sit down with you to review your driving history as well as your physical, visual and cognitive function – all important factors to consider before you go on the road.

The on-road assessment, where you trial a scooter with the OT will help determine additional factors to further assess your safe ability to drive. These include:

  • Driving skills to negotiate kerbs, pedestrians, give way signs, u-turns, etc
  • Reaction time
  • Speed control
  • Planning an d judgement
  • Driving tolerance – measuring fatigue and concentration over time
  • Adhering to the road rules

Generally the assessment will take place in your local area negotiating the paths you would be utilising and starting in the quieter environments until your confidence develops to tackle busier areas. The OT will provide you with feedback along the way, allowing you to make adjustments and familiarise yourself with using a scooter.

The OT will also discuss things such as road rules, insurance, and any requirement for follow up assessments (especially for clients suffering from cognitive decline). Restrictions may be put in place for safety reasons including time of day, distances and speeds.

To find out more call our office on 1300 588 851. We look forward to helping our community be scooter safe!