Mobility scooter training call aims to cut accidents

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Media caption,

Safety campaigners call for a tightening up of legislation following an increase in mobility scooter accidents

Campaigners are calling for mobile scooter riders to undergo compulsory training in a bid to cut the number of accidents.

There are more than 300,000 in use on Britain's roads and pavements.

In the last three years, Devon and Cornwall Police have recorded about 200 public safety incidents involving them.

The government is being urged to adopt legislation and introduce new tests for users to improve safety for riders, drivers and pedestrians.

A quick trip to Plymouth ended in hospital for Graham Marsland when he collided with a scooter being ridden along the pavement. He was left semi-conscious with a broken hip and shoulder.

He said: "It knocked me about eight feet. I just sat there in shock. I felt a bit sorry for the woman riding it.

"She didn't leave the house to hurt somebody and I didn't leave the house to get hurt either. She was traumatised as well.

"The irony is it's me who now needs a mobility scooter."

Police found no fault with the vehicle and took no action against the woman who knocked him down.

They have limited powers to prosecute because mobility scooters are classified as medical devices, not vehicles.

Stu Moseley, from Devon and Cornwall Police's serious collisions investigations unit, said: "Some models weigh in excess of 140 kilos [22 stone]. With the driver on top of it that's a considerable weight to be on the pavement.

"They're not covered under the Road Traffic Act like a car or motorcycle. So we have very limited, if any, powers to deal with people involved with these."

'Honking at you'

Meanwhile scooter users complain they are sometimes harassed by other highway users.

Scott Moy from Plymouth has had no accidents in his eight years as a scooter rider.

He said he does not feel welcome on the pavements or the roads but he has no choice.

Mr Moy said: "They won't allow us to use a bus lane or a cycle path and if you're doing eight miles an hour you've got to go on the road. So then you've got cars honking at you."

One change already approved means police will have to record accidents involving scooters, but only ones that happen on the road not the pavement.

A spokesperson for the Department of Transport said new tests for users were being looked into.

Plymouth MP Alison Seabeck said: "I think it's in the interests of all road users and pedestrians as well that we try and improve safety for everyone involved."

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