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Until attending one of the recent Safety & Skills Sessions, Mary had never driven a mobility scooter before.

She is 94 years old and was seriously thinking of buying one, but wanted to be sure she would be safe on it and avoid accidents.

In April, Mary was introduced to a scooter helpfully loaned, free of charge, for the duration of the sessions by Clearwell Mobility, and the seat was adjusted for her comfort.

After a brief explanation and demonstration of the controls, Mary drove herself to a quiet area where her confidence grew, because she was able to practise turning, reversing and other manoeuvres, alongside her friendly ‘Scooter Tutor’.

A few minutes later, accompanied by her Tutor, she crossed a road safely, and drove along pavements and paths, negotiating obstacles and allowing pedestrians the right of way at all times. She also made sure that the speed of the scooter was below the legal limit of 4 miles per hour.

Mary said she was thrilled to have progressed so much in just a couple of hours, and was pleased to receive a certificate at the end.

The Safety Sessions, which have been arranged jointly by Horsham District Older Peoples Forum and Horsham Town Community Partnership (HTCP), aim to help new and experienced scooter drivers remember that they share the pavement with pedestrians, who have right of way at all times.

Another participant, experienced scooter driver, Pamela, said: “This course was really worthwhile and has given me more confidence to use my scooter safely in the future. Anyone thinking about buying a scooter, or is already a scooter user, should enrol and then perhaps scooter riders will start to get a better name.”

People in wheelchairs elicit understanding from passers-by, while mobility scooters can trigger irritation due to past incidents where, perhaps, the drivers did not show enough care. Yet, the scooter is a lifeline for many thousands of people, and the only way its owner can get to the shops and see friends.

Tutor, David Searle, said that it was good to hear the more experienced drivers passing on their knowledge and experiences to others on the course. They also suggested improvements and changes.

Be safer on your scooter: If you are considering buying a mobility scooter or already own one, and would like to know more about being safer on your scooter, please ring 01403 269384 and book your place. Sessions take place in Horsham Park on Wednesday afternoons.

The course is free and will be running for the next 5 months. For more information, please visit: www.horshamscootersafety.org.uk

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