'Bad driving' warning to scooter users

THEY might not be Hell's Angels or Mods, but it seems mobility scooter riders are running the risk of getting “a bad name” following a number of collisions in Suffolk.

THEY might not be Hell's Angels or Mods, but it seems mobility scooter riders are running the risk of getting “a bad name” following a number of collisions in Suffolk.

The Stowmarket disability charity Optua yesterday called on users of the vehicles, and powered wheelchairs, to ride safely and responsibly.

The issue has been raised through its local groups, and it is keen to nip the problem in the bud.

Linda Hoggarth, charity chairman, said: “As a charity representing the interests of all disabled people, Optua is anxious that users of mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs do not get a bad name because of a small number of incidents.


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“The majority of disabled people use them safely and responsibly and do not cause any problems. However, it is sensible to remind users of some basic safety tips which they should always follow for their safety and that of the general public.”

But mobility scooter rider Ronald Rawden, of Hall Street in Long Melford, near Sudbury, said pedestrians were often to blame for accidents.

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Mr Rawden said his life had been dramatically improved since getting his three-wheeled mobility scooter because he used to struggle to walk beyond 50 yards.

Mr Rawden, who called on all mobility scooter riders to get insurance, said: “Most people are very courteous though when cars are parked up on the road the trouble can be getting past pedestrians.

“The majority of mobility scooter riders are elderly and disabled and they tend to be very courteous people. I have not met anybody who has done anything stupid.

“My scooter only goers six miles an hour but even then you've got to watch what you're doing because you're still travelling quicker than somebody who is walking and you could go into the back of somebody.

“You have to be very, very careful because people tend to start and stop very, very quickly and I've had people walk right across in front of me. It is usually the pedestrians at fault.”

n For scooters and wheelchairs, the speed limit on footpaths is 4mph and on the road it is 8mph.

n Do not use your vehicle in 'free wheel' as the electronic brake will not work.

n Keep tyres at the pressure recommended by manufacturers.

n Make sure your lights work before you go out and always use them when necessary.

n Remember that pedestrians always have the right of way and if you are using a vehicle on a footpath. In crowded areas it is your responsibility to make sure your vehicle does not run into people.

n You must be able to adequately control your vehicle at all times.

Source: Optua

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