Mobility scooters have been involved in hundreds of cases dealt with by the Cumbrian constabulary, including crashes, highways disturbances and thefts.
Information covering the last five years, uncovered by CN Group using Freedom of Information laws, shows there have been a total of 54 separate ‘highways disruptions’ involving mobility scooters over the period – while a further 14 were classed as ‘roads related offences’.
There were two counts of taking without consent, while police are regularly called to investigate the theft of mobility scooters from across the county. The data also reveals they have been at the centre of a range of serious accidents, with police records showing five people, including a child in Carlisle and pedestrians in Ulverston and Whitehaven, have been hit by mobility scooters. On one occasion, officers were called to a collision in Carlisle involving a mobility scooter and two other vehicles.
Police in the city attended another incident where a mobility scooter had collided with a large van while a third was recorded by officers simply as ‘car vs mobility scooter’. In Ambleside, a mobility scooter user misjudged a corner and collided with a van, while in Grange-over-Sands, a mobility scooter rider was knocked off their vehicle by a car. There were 347 incidents in total.
Now, Cumbria Police have urged both mobility scooter drivers and motorists to be aware of one another in an attempt to halt the rising number of incidents on our roads. A spokesman for the force said: “Our advice is simply for both motorists and mobility scooter users to look out for one another. We ask that mobility scooter users give way to pedestrians when riding on pavements and that they obey traffic lights and all other road signals, including stop signs, give way signs and signs for one way streets. Also, we encourage mobility scooter users to wear high-visibility clothing, particularly at night, to help keep you and other road users safe.”
There are two classifications of mobility scooter. The first are suitable for use only on pavements and in pedestrianised areas and have a top speed of four miles per hour.
Their road-going counterparts, officially recorded by the DVLA as a Class 3 invalid carriage, have speeds of up to eight miles per hour but must comply with government regulations that demand the vehicles have a rear view mirror, front and rear lights, reflectors, a horn and an efficient braking system. Anyone using a mobility scooter on the road must comply with the Highway Code.
Road safety manager at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, Nick Lloyd, explained the number of accidents involving mobility scooters nationwide is increasing year on year. Mr Lloyd said: “Mobility scooters provide an important form of transport for many people who might otherwise not be able to get out and about. They help people to enjoy a much better quality of life than they would otherwise do. However, as with all forms of transport, they create some risk for both the user and for other people.The number of accidents and casualties involving mobility scooters has only been recorded (for a few years) but these figures indicate that they are increasing which is very worrying.”
Mr Lloyd added: “RoSPA believes the best ways to prevent these casualties is to improve the quality and availability of guidance and training for mobility scooter users, manufacturers and retailers. We don’t believe that extensive new regulations are needed but it would help if it was made clear that road traffic laws governing careless and dangerous driving; driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol; and using a mobile telephone while driving apply to mobility scooter users.”