How to prevent mobility scooter theft
The theft of mobility scooters is sadly becoming an all-too-frequent occurrence. According to police data (collated from a Freedom of Information request by the National Federation of Shopmobility UK), the total value of mobility scooters stolen in 2015 was £615,730.
They’re often taken by opportunistic thieves, either to sell on or for joy rides (albeit rather sedate ones, as most only reach speeds of 4-8mph). This leaves the mobility scooter owner without a means of transportation and prevents them from being able to carry on with their daily life. If you've recently purchased a scooter, follow our sensible steps to keep it secure and reduce the risk of it being stolen.
Choose a scooter with an ignition starter key
Some mobility scooters can be started by simply pressing a button, rather than turning an ignition key, which can make them easy for thieves to take if left unattended.
If your scooter does have a starter key, be sure to remove it if you leave the scooter unattended for any time.
Bear in mind that even if a thief doesn't have a key, they may still be able to freewheel the scooter away without starting the motor, which is why a wheel clamp or lock is also a good idea (see below).
Use a wheel clamp or lock
It’s possible to buy a wheel clamp to lock the wheels and prevent the scooter from being rolled away. They usually retail for under £20, however, you’ll need to have enough mobility and flexibility to kneel down and attach it to the wheel when it’s left unattended.
Similarly, a long cable or chain that can be wound round the wheels and to a fixed post or stand and secured with a padlock will act as a deterrent to thieves.
Consider a scooter alarm
Widely available from many elderly care websites, scooter alarms are easily fitted to your scooter. Once the alarm is set, it will emit a noise if it detects movement (for example, someone sitting on or trying to wheel the scooter away). Often, an attention-drawing noise can be enough to dissuade a would-be thief.
Fit a tracker
Another option is to fit a tracker somewhere on the scooter, preferably not in plain view, which you can activate if the vehicle is stolen. These work through GPS and track where the scooter goes. Many work by sending a text message notification to alert the owner as to the scooter's whereabouts, so you will need to have a mobile phone. Some work on a pay-as-you-go basis, while others have a monthly tariff.
Don’t leave it on show outside your home
Many people bring their mobility scooter indoors at the end of the day to charge it overnight. However, if you have a scooter with a detachable battery and you leave it outside your home or in a porch or garage overnight, make sure it’s not visible from the street.
Even a mobility scooter cover could help to hide it away from prying eyes and reduce the risk of theft.
Get it registered
A national scheme has been set up to encourage mobility scooter owners to register their vehicles. While this won’t necessarily discourage theft, it could make it easier for you to be reunited with a stolen scooter if it is recovered later on.
The is a database run by the National Federation of Shopmobility UK. It costs £12 a year to register and you’ll be provided with a sticker to put on the scooter so that if police recover it, they can check who owns it and return it quickly.
Don’t forget – check your insurance policy
Some household contents insurance providers will cover your mobility scooter, but it’s worth double-checking that this is the case, as it might depend on whether the scooter is licensed for road use. It’s also possible to buy mobility scooter-specific insurance, which can cover public liability, breakdowns, puncture repair and key loss.