A motorist from Staffordshire has called for the introduction of compulsory driving tests for mobility scooter riders. According to an article in the Burton Mail, the Department for Transport revealed that every week, mobility scooter drivers are involved in four crashes on Britain’s roads.
The figures also showed that accidents had doubled in two years, with nine people being killed in the accidents, meaning mobility scooters are now involved in more crashes than trams or horses.
Motorist Stephen Allcock was charged with driving without due care and attention after hitting a mobility scooter. However, the magistrates cleared him after ruling the scooter rider should have been on the pavement rather than the carriageway.
Personal injury solicitor James McNally told the Burton Mail the question must be asked as to whether insurance for mobility scooters should be made compulsory. He said: “Many users do not know that insurance for mobility scooters is readily available. If an insured mobility scooter user causes an accident then their insurers will deal with the claim just like a normal road traffic accident. However, if insurance isn’t made compulsory, there will always be more uninsured drivers than insured.”
James argues that while legally mobility scooters cannot be used by non-disabled people, policing the rule is impossible. He added: “With no compulsory insurance there is often very little an injured scooter victim can do to recover compensation.”
Collisions with cars aren’t the only problem, according to the article. Pavement collisions with pedestrians are becoming increasingly common. While pavement speeds are limited to 4mph, a collision with a vehicle weighing 100kg or more can cause damage.
Dawn Greatbatch, who has been using a mobility scooter for 12 years, hit back at calls for tougher regulation. She said: “I’ve never had an accident. I rarely go out on my own, so I always have a spare pair of eyes. The worst thing is children running in front of you. And pigeons.
“I’m very careful, but you do see others who just keep on whatever. You’re on a pavement. You can’t just keep going. The worst thing that’s happened to me was early on when I topped off a kerb.”
On the subject of potential driving tests for mobility scooter riders, Dawn said she thought they would “put people off”. She added: “It can be a big enough step going out on one of these [mobility scooters] as it is. The first few times I felt very self-conscious. Just admitting you need a mobility scooter is a big thing, let along getting on one and going out. Just leave things as they are.”