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Mobility Scooter Menace?

14/01/2010 | 1 comments

Photo of mobility scooter (BBC)United Kingdom. A number of high-profile accidents involving mobility scooters have raised concern that drivers cannot be prosecuted and caused some to float the idea of testing users.

Photo of mobility scooter (BBC)

With a top speed of 4 miles per hour (6.44 kilometres per hour) for the mobility scooters designed to travel on pavements, you might think that it was hard for their users to drive dangerously.

No official statistics exist for the number of accidents involving the scooters, but there are tales from around the country of old ladies steering into shop windows, mobility scooters trundling along motorways and even people driving off railway platforms.

There have even been injuries to pedestrians. Last year two-year-old Madison McNair was knocked down by a 70-year-old woman driving a mobility scooter on a pedestrianised street in Doncaster.

Caught in the wheels of the machine, the toddler was dragged down the road as the driver carried on apparently unaware of what had happened. Since mobility scooters are exempt from the Road Traffic Act the police were powerless to act against the driver.

The death of 90-year-old Lilian Macey in September led to no action by police against the scooter driver allegedly responsible.

The level of concern is such that in February a committee of MPs will begin an inquiry looking at safety implications. One of the issues they will examine is whether scooter drivers should get some kind of formal training before going out on to the streets.

The idea is already being put into practice by Norfolk Police and a handful of other forces. In Norfolk, impetus was generated by the volume of complaints about accidents being caused by the electric vehicles on Great Yarmouth's streets and pavements.

A combination of affordability and an aging population has led to a significant increase in the number of mobility scooters being driven around the town.

"In the market place if you speak to the traders they will always tell you a tale of their vegetables being knocked over or people being run into by mobility scooter users," says Penny Carpenter, of Norfolk Police.

Read the full article from BBC Magazine

Scooter Rules in the UK

  • Class two vehicles with 4mph speed limit, designed to be used on pavements
  • Class three vehicles with 8mph speed limit can be used on pavement and road
  • 4mph speed limit on pavements and pedestrian areas

Read the rules for use of scooters in the UK Highway Code 

1 comment(s) posted

Posted by Ambrose Ivor on 2010/01/14 - 09:41:23

A mobility scooter is certainly a great benefit to anyone who has difficulty walking or cannot manage long distances. Older people are taking to them in large numbers - a trend which is likely to increase with population ageing. So the competition for space on pavements, in shops, malls, museums and other public areas will get tougher.
Researchers are already looking into how to improve safety by training drivers. Google: "mobility scooter research".
- If you have any experience in this area, please add a comment here or write to ENAT. This a subject which concerns many travel destinations and cities.

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General Information

Submitted by: Ivor Ambrose
Author(s): Nick Holland
Language(s): EN

Reference

Publisher: BBC
Date published on the web: 04/01/2010
Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8436558.stm

Keyword(s)

Age-related issues, (seniors) | Assistive Technologies | Demographics | Disability, disabilities, technical aids | Drivers, driving, motoring | Policy, legislation | Suppliers of equipment

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