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Mobility-scooter etiquette.

As baby boomers are now in or reaching their mature years, a record number of people are driving mobility scooters, whether on vacation, in a supermarket, at a convention, etc. While those driving scooters deserve the respect of others in order to smoothly operate their equipment, driving a scooter is a two-way street. If drivers are conscientious and courteous of those around them, they make it safer and more pleasurable for pedestrians and others.

Surprisingly, even with the large number of people using scooters today, they don't have much guidance about how to courteously operate the equipment. Here are a few tips and etiquette suggestions from Special Needs Group for scooter drivers to ensure their trips are safe and enjoyable for themselves and those around them.

In General

* Operate your mobility scooter or power chair in a careful and considerate manner.

* Use a footpath or sidewalk when one is accessible. In most jurisdictions, you are considered a pedestrian and should avoid driving on the road.

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* Move off a shared path if you have stopped so others can pass.

* Travel at a speed that doesn't endanger others.

* Similar to how you drive a car, keep right and pass on the left.

* Warn others when you approach them from behind, around a hidden turn, or on a covered driveway. If you have a horn, use it. Some scooters are silent and might not be heard by someone who has a hearing impairment.

* Always look behind you, including before you overtake someone who is slower than you (you may hit someone on the side).

* If you get a call on your cell phone, pull over. Your driving ability becomes five times worse when your attention is on a phone call and when you're using one hand instead of two to steer.

* When you are in a dining room or restaurant, if you are physically able to get out of your scooter, park it to the side in the dining area.

* It is illegal for you to ride, or let any person ride, in a way that may cause you or the other person injury.

Traveling?

Hauling personal special-needs equipment across the ocean or around the world is inconvenient and not always trouble-free. It can be easily damaged or even lost in transit, and it's extremely difficult to repair your equipment abroad. A better option is to lease the equipment for travel from a specialty firm dedicated to providing special-needs equipment for travelers.

Although the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has created significant changes within the travel industry and a deepening respect and higher level of acceptance for all forms of ability differences now exists, still more improvements can be implemented. By practicing proper etiquette and being courteous, scooter drivers can make life safer and more enjoyable for themselves and those around them.

About Special Needs Group, Inc.

Special Needs Group, Inc., provides wheelchair, scooter, and oxygen rentals and other special-needs equipment rentals. It also offers a broad range of special-needs equipment for purchase. Special Needs Group also serves guests visiting hotels, resorts, theme parks, and convention centers. It now offers an online scooter- and wheelchair-rental booking service on its website (see below).

Special Needs Group/ Special Needs at Sea is reportedly the industry's only total special needs travel solution.

Contributor: Andrew Garnett, Founder and GEO, Special Needs Group, Inc.

Contact: Special Needs Group, Inc., 2860 West State Road 84, Suite 107, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312 / www.specialneedsgroup.com/ 800-513-4515 / 954-585-0575.
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Title Annotation:on the move
Publication:PN - Paraplegia News
Date:May 1, 2011
Words:579
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