Mobility scooter users sought for new road safety project
A new training video is being developed to improve road safety for first-time mobility scooter users.
The project, being led by psychologists at Nottingham Trent University, will provide mobility scooter users with guidance on the type of hazards they may face, how to spot them and how to prepare for them.
Experienced and inexperienced mobility scooter users are being invited to drive along a planned route as part of the project, with cameras recording the view from the user’s perspective and eye-tracking technology used to show what the driver is looking at.
The researchers are also inviting mobility scooter users to share their personal experiences.
In particular the study is focusing on the behaviour of mobility scooter users at road crossings and the difficulties they may encounter.
There are currently between 300,000 and 350,000 people using mobility scooters in the UK. This number is expected to rise up to 10 per cent per year.
However, in 2014 there were more than 200 reported mobility scooter-related collisions in England and Wales, nine of which were fatal.
Dr Duncan Guest, a psychologist in the university’s School of Social Sciences, said there was a need to introduce optional training for users.
He said: “There are a number of health and wellbeing benefits associated with using mobility scooters, such as increased independence and improving self-esteem.
“However, these benefits might not be realised if someone uses a scooter for the first time and gets into a difficult situation. Our aim is to improve the safety of new mobility scooter users and reduce potential collisions.”
The video will be created using a combination of real-time and staged footage.
The real-time footage will be produced by filming experienced and inexperienced mobility scooter users following a route around Nottingham city centre.
They will deal with a variety of road crossings along the way, which could have potential hazards.
High Definition cameras will be attached to the mobility scooters to show the driver’s perspective, along with mobile eye trackers or video glasses to record what the driver is looking at.
Afterwards, researchers will interview participants about their experiences of the route and they will also analyse footage to create the training video.
Copies of the training video will be sent to Shopmobility outlets and other mobility charities.
Dr Guest said there was a lot more to a safe mobility scooter experience than simply understanding the controls.
“Whilst handling is important, we think it is vital that users also receive information about the types of hazards they might encounter and advice on how to deal with these,” he said.
“To date, no-one has asked mobility scooter users about these, and we think that engaging with this community and developing a training tool will be really beneficial for new scooter users by improving their safety and their experience.”
Nottingham Trent University has received a £89,000 grant from the Road Safety Trust for the project.
As part of the work researchers are asking mobility scooter users to complete a questionnaire, about their experiences of driving.
Experienced and inexperienced scooter users are also being sought to drive along the pre-planned route in Nottingham city centre.
Anyone interested in taking part in the project should contact Georgina Gous on 0115 8482701 or via email email@example.com
Those who complete the questionnaire have the chance to win £100. Anyone who completes the route around Nottingham, can earn up to £20 in shopping vouchers.
Notes for editors
The research team consists of Dr Duncan Guest, Professor David Crundall, Dr Angela Young and Dr Andrew MacKenzie, of Nottingham Trent University and Gordon Guest (an experienced mobility scooter user).
Nottingham Trent University (NTU) has been awarded the highest, gold, rating in the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework for its outstanding teaching and learning.
NTU is one of the largest UK universities with nearly 28,000 students and more than 3,500 staff across four campuses, contributing £496m to the UK economy every year. It is one of the most environmentally-friendly universities, containing some of the country’s most inspiring and efficient award-winning buildings.
The University is passionate about creating opportunities and its extensive outreach programme is designed to enable Nottingham Trent to be a vehicle for social mobility. NTU is the sixth biggest recruiter of students from disadvantaged backgrounds in the country and 95.6% of the its graduates go on to employment or further education within six months of leaving.
NTU is home to world-class research, winning The Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2015 - the highest national honour for a UK university. It recognised the University’s pioneering projects to improve weapons and explosives detection in luggage, enable safer production of powdered infant formula and combat food fraud.
With an international student population of approximately 2,600 from around 100 countries, the University prides itself on its global outlook
The Road Safety Trust is a registered charity and it’s charitable objective is to support road safety research or practical interventions intended to reduce the numbers of people killed or injured on the roads. Practical interventions may focus on education, engineering or enforcement approaches or a mixture of two or all of these.
The charity is governed by 11 trustees and chaired by Anthony Bangham, Chief Constable of West Mercia Constabulary and the national lead for roads policing. The trustees come from a range of backgrounds including the private sector, civil service, higher education, politics and crime reduction. The members of the Trust are the 43 police forces of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Mobility scooter users sought for new road safety project
- Subject area: Psychology, sociology, health and social care
- Category: Press office; School of Social Sciences