?????The latest research report from Rica (Research Institute for Consumer Affairs) takes a closer look at the UK Mobility Scooter Market, offering an insight into the needs and concerns of scooter users across the country.

Mobility Scooters: a market study, 2014, draws on a new Rica survey of 480 scooter users, an analysis of market data and studies, and industry consultations. Carried out on behalf of the Department of Transport, the report will inform future transport policies that address the needs of disabled and older people with mobility impairments.

This study reports on three specific aspects of the mobility scooter market:

  • mobility scooter market trends
  • profile of mobility scooter users
  • consultation on class 3 mobility scooters

Key findings

  • There is a lack of comprehensive, reliable commercial data on the size of the mobility scooter market. “Best estimates” put the number of units sold per year at approximately 80,000 and total number of UK users at approximately 300-350,000.
  • All data and Rica’s consultations confirm high levels of annual sales growth in the sector (5-10%) with evidence of increased advertising and a widening range of retail options.
  • Online and second hand retail sales are growing (30% of scooter users surveyed had bought online and 30% owned a second hand scooter).
  • Prices of mobility scooters vary widely. Recommended retail prices (RRPs) are widely published but do not accurately represent sales prices which are often substantially lower.
  • 48% of respondents owned a wheelchair as well as a mobility scooter and 27% owned more than one type of mobility scooter.
  • Many survey respondents were reliant on their mobility scooter: 74% said they would not make the same journeys if they could not use their scooter.
  • Class 2 boot scooters were the most common type of scooter owned.
  • New purchasers often do not get access to good information and assessment of their needs.
  • There is a lack of training opportunities necessary to ensure safe use of mobility scooters.
  • The purpose and requirements of the registration of class 3 mobility scooters are not clear.

Recommendations

  • There remains an urgent need for accurate statistics on mobility scooter use for policy makers and those planning public transport, road and pedestrian infrastructure.
  • More research is needed to clarify the safety issues associated with increased pavement use of scooters, in particular stopping distances.
  • Compulsory insurance is likely to be unpopular. However, consultation with the insurance industry is needed to identify options for widening access to low cost insurance.
  • The requirement to register class 3 vehicles should be reviewed.
  • Greater availability of local (community based) and national training schemes for mobility scooter users are required.

To read the full report visit www.rica.org.uk/content/mobility-scooter-research

logo_rica_rgbRica is a UK consumer research charity that specialises in work with older and disabled people. For more information visit www.rica.org.uk