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Blackburn bus station mobility scooter row continues

blackburn row over parking for mobility scootersAn over-50s group has accused a council of ignoring its pleas for official parking provision for large mobility scooters at a new bus station.
In April, Brian Todd, chairman of Blackburn with Darwen Older Person’s Forum, raised concerns over there being no allocated spaces for large class three mobility scooters at the £5m Blackburn bus station development.

But since then, Mr Todd said he has been unable to persuade the council to allocate spaces which he would like to see at the white wall at the Church Street/Salford end of the bus station.

Brian Todd, who said the need for mobility scooter parking spaces should have been included in the design of the Ainsworth Street bus station which opened last May, said: “I still feel like I’m not being listened to. It’s very frustrating. Class three size mobility scooters are too large for the buses, unlike the class one and class two mobility scooters, so we therefore need somewhere to park at the bus station before we get on the buses. But the council still aren’t allowing this for safety and insurance reasons.”

Mr Todd said he has sent letters to all the councillors on Blackburn with Darwen Council asking them if they would support parking for large mobility scooters within the bus station – but that only four have responded.

A spokesperson for Blackburn with Darwen Council said the authority ‘regret’ being unable to allow vehicles to be stored or parked in the bus station, as they ‘cannot accept liability for damage or theft.’

Have you had similar mobility scooter parking space issues in your town? If so, tell us about it in the Reply Box below.

Police using prams & mobility scooters to catch illegal parkers

mobility scooters pram policePolice officers in Hertfordshire have been using prams as parts of a crack-down on motorists who park on pavements.

The buggies will be used to measure whether a car is blocking a pavement. If it is, the car owner will be handed a fine. While under the law it is not illegal to park on pavements, unless it is an HGV, it is against the law to obstruct the pavement with a vehicle.

Sergeant Duncan Wallace, of Hertfordshire Police, commented: ‘My evidence is that there is narrow gap on the pavement and this is a densely populated residential area where footfall is going to be high. That is what the pavement is for.”

The footfall will likely include people on mobility scooters, wheelchairs and they should not be asked to go out into the main carriageway.Footage shows officers armed with the prams trying to squeeze past cars. After testing the pram out and not being able to get it past a van, the police debated whether to hand out a fine or to just give advice to the driver before ultimately deciding to leave a ticket.

Chief Inspector Gerry McDonald, who is heading up the operation, explained: “It is about being sensible. We are trying to find a balance between the need of everyone but what I can’t have is parents and buggies and disabled people being forced into the road and that is why we are using this tool.”

Do you have an issue with obstructed pavements and pathways in your neighbourhood, that prevent you driving your mobility scooter safely? Let us know in the Reply Box below.

No need for the Ark – when you’re two by two on a mobility scooter!!

tandem mobility scooterA double mobility scooter has revolutionised the lives of Walter Mathieson and Karen Downs.

The couple can now get out and about with ease and convenience on their double mobility scooter, whether it be a trip to town or to the Breakthrough Church where they worship on Sundays.

Walter and Karen have known each other since they both attended Homai College for the partially-sighted in Auckland, New Zealand. Miss Downs is totally blind and Mr Mathieson partially-sighted, but he is still permitted to drive a mobility scooter. Walter explains: “I bought it through the internet, from Kiwi Scooters. It’s the first double mobility scooter in Gisborne.”

It has been a godsend for Miss Downs, who was largely housebound until Walter came into her life after they met again at the Blind Foundation.

The couple have been seeing each other for 10 months and recently moved in together. And when they are out and about, they couldn’t be closer on their double mobility scooter!!

Have you got a double mobility scooter? If so tell us about how it’s changed your life on the Reply Box below.

Every little mobility scooter helps but not at the Aberdeen Tesco

Tesco mobility scootersAn Aberdeen resident recently criticised Tescos in Aberdeen because its only mobility scooter has been out of action for seven weeks with a puncture.

Bob Esslemont, 82, has been forced to use walking sticks during his visits to the Tesco store in Aberdeen’s Rousay Drive. It’s the second time in 12 months the mobility scooter has been out of action. Bob said he can’t under-stand why it is taking Tescos so long to fix such a simple problem at its store in Sheddocksley.

He commented: “A lot of people use the scooter and a puncture should take five minutes to fix. I go to this Tesco five times a week and for the last seven weeks the mobility scooter has been out of action. The only thing wrong with the scooter is it has a puncture, which I pointed out to them. Now, I use my walking sticks to do my groceries when the scooter would help to make it easier.”

A Tesco spokesman couldn’t give an exact time for when the mobility scooter would be fixed. He added: “Serving our customers to the very best of our ability is really important to us and we hope to have the mobility scooter operational again as soon as possible.”

Have you encountered similar problems at your local supermarket, whether Tescos or otherwise? Let us know in the Reply Box below.

War veteran asked to leave Kew Gardens gift shop because of his mobility scooter

MBE Fisher mobility scootersA World War Two veteran has received an apology from the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew after he was asked to leave the gift shop because he was using a mobility scooter.

Joe Fisher MBE, aged 95, a life-long campaigner for polio victims after contracting it during the campaign in Burma, said he was furious to be asked to leave by a member of staff at Kew Gardens. Mr Fisher was shocked to learn that mobility scooter riders were not allowed on the grass at the gardens, a UNESCO world heritage site, which left him feeling like “a dog that ought to be on a leash.” They were also barred from the cafe and even the toilets, which prompted Mr Fisher to ask whether he was intended to “pee behind a bush.”

He has now received a letter of apology from Kew Gardens which states a review has been launched of its disability access policy and that staff have been sent for re-training.

Mr Fisher, of Gosforth, Newcastle, was visiting Kew Gardens with his wife Christine and hired the mobility scooter at Kew to help him see as much of the site as possible.

He explained: “My wife and I separated in the shop and I was having a good look around before I started making my way towards the exit. A lady came over and addressed my wife rather than me, saying “would you mind asking your husband to leave, he is not allowed in here on the mobility scooter. We were both incredulous, not least because I hired the mobility scooter at Kew. My wife, quite rightly said “ask him yourself, he isn’t stupid.”

Joe continued: “So she then explained it to me and said, “it’s in the rules,” which I queried, assuming she’d got it completely wrong. “But later when I looked on the website I discovered it actually was in the rules. Mobility scooters weren’t allowed in the cafe, the toilets or even on the grass. It left me feeling as though I was a dog that ought to be kept on a leash and allowed only to have a pee behind a bush.”

He added: “I have spent my entire life campaigning for Polio victims on matters just such as these and frankly I was astonished that somewhere like Kew could have got it so badly wrong. This is not some tu’penny ha’penny tourist attraction, it’s internationally renowned and world famous. Surely someone should have queried this extraordinary policy at some point before now? We are still in a situation where 63% of the nation’s top attractions do not have proper, full wheelchair access and that just isn’t good enough.”

Joe has received a letter of apology from Kew stating it is reviewing its access policy. The letter also states: “We are sincerely sorry that the person who spoke to you did so in an impolite manner.”

The Kew Gardens website has now been altered to say that the only places not accessible to mobility scooters are the glasshouses, galleries, Kew Palace, the Royal Kitchens or the Treetop Walkway.

A Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew spokesperson, commented: “Everyone is welcome at Kew, and we take pride in our customer service. We have written (by post) a letter to Mr Fisher expressing our sincerest regret that he had a disappointing experience during his recent visit to Kew Gardens. We have worked hard to make sure that Kew Gardens is accessible to people with disabilities and as such, his experience was not typical of our service or reflective of our policies. “We welcome mobility scooters into the shops and cafes at Kew, but there are a few other areas where for practical reasons they are unable to go e.g the glasshouses and galleries, and the Treetop Walkway.

The statement continued: “We do, however, offer visitors an opportunity to visit these attractions in a regular wheelchair instead. We deeply regret that Mr Fisher was misinformed about the shop policy, and have reiterated our disability policies with all members of staff and volunteers following this. We have also reviewed the information on our website following Mr Fisher’s complaint, and have corrected the access information to reflect our policy across the Gardens.”

Mr Fisher, who received his MBE for services to charity and the British Polio Fellowship, has worked tirelessly to change perceptions of disabled people in the North East, masterminding a Polio hostel and training centre in Jesmond, Newcastle, in 1954.

Morecambe & Glenys host charity mobility scooter rally

morecambe mobility scooter rallyA mobility scooter rally organised by a pensioner from Morecambe raised money for a cancer charity.

Pensioner Glenys Hodgson, 81, of Rydal Court in Morecambe, who also took part in the mobility scooter rally, organised it in aid of Leukaemia Research as she lost her daughter to leukaemia at the age of 33.

Glenys initiated and organised the mobility scooter rally, which went from the Battery in Morecambe to Happy Mount Park, not only to raise money for a good cause, but to bring together people on mobility scooters as a way of meeting new friends.

David Morris, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, cut the ribbon at the very start of the mobility scooter rally. Glenys commented: “It went ok, especially for the first time. It was a learning experience. There were five mobility scooters including myself, and some people in wheelchairs joined us at the Eric Morecambe statue who then went down the promenade with us”

Have you done something similar or are you planning a mobility scooter rally? Promote it in the Reply Box below.

Jeremy Kyle escapes his TV show on getaway mobility scooter!!

jeremy kyle on mobility scooter

Jeremy Kyle fans were entertained after the TV presenter stole a studio guest’s mobility scooter during a debate and took it for a spin around the TV studio.

Seemingly exasperated at an argument breaking out over a “sleazy” 70-year-old who was “trying to seduce” another man’s wife, Jeremy Kyle started fiddling with the mobility scooter which was to the side of the stage. While two guests rowed between themselves, Jeremy Kyle alighted the mobility scooter and started playing with the controls and drove on an excursion around the studio corridors.

The mobility scooter belonged to John, 70, (left) who was alleged to have been trying to seduce Tony’s (right), 51, wife. Accidentally putting the mobility scooter in reverse, Jeremy Kyle was driven backwards at first, before working out how to use the controls.

Jeremy Kyle then sat down on the mobility scooter and started flying around the studio and down the hallways backstage, completely ignoring the two men’s dispute. Unperturbed by Jeremy Kyle’s actions, the two men carried on with their bickering as if nothing was happening with the playful host.

Fans soon took to Twitter, calling it the best thing they’d watched on daytime TV. One said: “Jeremy Kyle riding around the studio on a guest’s mobility scooter whilst they argue is the best thing I’ve seen all week.” Another commented: “He’ll be in the next fast and furious film with that mobility scooter #jeremykyle.”

Mobility scooter rider causes £3,500 worth of damage in amusement arcade

mobility scooter rider damages arcadeA mobility scooter driver has caused £3,500 worth of damage to an amusement arcade after crashing into a machine.

The woman was caught on CCTV at the Happidrome Arcade, in Marine Parade, Southend, causing the damage and then riding off laughing. It is unclear if the incident was intentional.

Owner of the arcade, Martin Richardson, is calling on residents to help identify the woman, who had a child and a dog with her at the time. He has reported the incident, which happened four weeks ago, to the police. Mr Richardson decided to release the images after the woman have a false address He is pursuing charges for criminal damage. Mr Richardson said: “What happened was along came this woman on a mobility scooter.

Martin Richardson explained: “The mobility scooter was massive. She crashed into the side of one of the machines. She drove forwards and back and seemed to think it was funny.”

Staff approached the mobility scooter driver and informed her she had caused a lot of damage to the machine so they would need to take contact details for her. However, when the police visited the address, they discovered she had given false details.

Mr Richardson continued: “It is the audacity of her to give false details. She has also caused some other poor woman distress when they had the police knocking on the door accusing them of doing this. This isn’t a witch hunt – I don’t want anyone finding her and knocking over her scooter. I just want to identify her.”

He added: “The poor police have a lot to deal with, so we want to help them out and carry out our own investigation. We want to bring charges for criminal damage.”

He added that the machine was an old model and so couldn’t be repaired, but a replacement would be about £3,500. Buying the modern equivalent would cost about £5,000.

It is not a legal requirement for mobility scooters to have insurance unless they are driven on the road. Mr Richardson said they were welcome in the arcade, as long as users were careful of children using the venue.

Mobility scooter speed restriction clampdown planned in Newbury

speeding mobility scootersNewbury Town Council is set to launch a clampdown on mobility scooter drivers who speed in the town centre.

The council has received complaints about the number of mobility scooters speeding around pedestrians in the busy shopping streets of Newbury, prompting councillors to approve an awareness campaign.

The Share the Space campaign, which will also target cyclists, aims to highlight the dangers of driving mobility scooters too quickly and urges users to select the tortoise setting on their mobility scooter.

Proposals to go ahead with the campaign, which will include the printing and delivering of 5,000 campaign leaflets, have been approved by Newbury Town Council’s planning and highways department. The leaflets state: “Newbury town offers an easy, friendly and accessible welcome to people using mobility equipment and the town’s businesses value their custom. We do receive complaints that some users drive their scooters too quickly in and amongst pedestrians in the town. If you are easily overtaking pedestrians you are going too fast.”

The leaflets go on to ask users not to “dart out of shop doorways, alleyways and lanes” and to keep their speed controller to the low or tortoise setting.

Working group chairwoman, Jo Day, explained: “Occasionally mobility scooters do go too fast. I’ve nearly been mowed down by one, so we thought we would just ask everybody, mobility scooters and cyclists, to slow down a bit. Most are responsible, but like everything else there is a minority.”

Disabled mobility scooter driver almost reduced to crawling into Glasgow post office

mobility scooter refused entrance to glasgow post officeA disabled man was banned from his local Post Office after staff told him his mobility scooter was not allowed entry.

Raymond Brown, 47, claimed two women in the Glasgow West Nile Street branch said only three-wheeled vehicles were permitted.

When he explained his four-wheeled scooter was a pavement model it made no difference. Raymond, who has had spina bifida since birth and cannot walk, said: “I was very angry and upset.”

He continued: “I was tempted to leave my scooter outside in the street and crawl in on my hands and knees at lunchtime just to make a point.”

A member of staff immediately offered him assistance, but then informed him his mobility scooter breached regulations. By the time Raymond reached the self-service checkout, a second member of staff appeared and reiterated the branch’s position. He was informed that it was a health and safety issue and the guidelines had been drafted by head office.

Raymond added: “They said I wasn’t allowed in the store because it was a four-wheeled mobility scooter. I was effectively banned. Wherever I go, people accommodate me, from Morrisons to House of Fraser. It is the only shop in Glasgow that has banned me.”

Raymond concluded: “Discrimination is not acceptable. I am doing this in support of all disabled people and hopefully my experience will force a review of this policy.”

The Post Office said its policy had been put in place following a number of ‘near misses’. A spokeswoman commented: “We were sorry to hear of the customer’s concerns regarding the service provided at our branch in West Nile Street. The branch team were correct to suggest that there are limitations on the types of mobility scooters which can enter the counter areas of our branches. Unfortunately, there have been a number of incidents and near misses in some branches.”