Couple’s horror at being hit by mobility scooter on pedestrian crossing

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A Retired couple are calling for tighter restrictions on who should be allowed to drive mobility scooters after they were struck and injured.

Douglas Laver, 70, was with his wife Hilary, 69, using a pedestrian crossing in Hayling Avenue, Copnor at about midday on a Saturday when he was hit from behind by a woman on a mobility scooter.

Hilary and Douglas Laver with their dog Charlie   Picture: Sarah Standing (170389-4099)

Hilary and Douglas Laver with their dog Charlie Picture: Sarah Standing (170389-4099)

Mr Laver was knocked to the floor and when his wife called to the woman on the mobility scooter to stop, she then tried reversing over his legs before speeding off towards Baffins Road.

Mrs Laver said: ‘As we were waiting to cross, she was right up against our bodies with this machine. When she hit him, I was calling to her to turn it off and then just as Douglas tried to get up, she goes to run over his legs again.

‘I was absolutely furious. Whenever we go out now we are forever looking over our shoulders to make sure there’s no-one behind us.’

Mr Laver suffered bruising and cuts in the incident – but he said he was pleased that it was him and not his wife that had taken the impact.

He said: ‘If it had been my wife then it could’ve been a whole different story.

‘That mobility scooter could have killed someone, especially if they were frail or a young child.

‘It would not have been as bad if she had stopped and checked to see if I was okay. I was lying in the floor, but she went over me again and then just zoomed off.’

Mrs Laver is now calling for tighter restrictions and tests for scooter users.

She said: ‘I want them to be taxed, have insurance and have number plates. I wanted to report her to the police as to me it was assault, but I don’t know who she was as she just sped off.

‘She was unrepentant when I shouted at her about what she had done. She couldn’t get away fast enough.’

Mrs Laver said she would also like to see drivers vetted when they buy scooters – with some kind of health and competency test carried out.

She said: ‘They are just shown how to turn them on and given a little run around, then off they go.

‘They are dangerous. If this woman had hit a child, then she could have killed them. I couldn’t sleep for four days afterwards as it kept going around in my mind. Something needs to be done.’

PORTSMOUTH WORST FOR MOBILITY SCOOTER COLLISIONS

Portsmouth is top of the list for collisions involving mobility scooters.

Figures reveal that mobility scooters were involved in four crashes a week on Britain’s roads last year, resulting in eight fatalities.

Mapmechanics analysed official government data of road accidents involving mobility scooters since 2011.

The place with the highest number of accidents reported to the police in a year was Portsmouth with six, followed by East Riding in Yorkshire with five, and East Lindsey in Lincolnshire with five.

The Department for Transport data — the most recent available — was analysed by the mapping firm and details accidents on British roads involving mobility scooters.

In one incident, a person was injured after crashing a mobility scooter which resulted in a three-car pile up.

Meanwhile in a separate episode a horse rider was injured after being rammed by a mobility scooter.

Hundreds of pedestrians have received injuries — many seriously — after being hit by the vehicles, which can reach speeds of up to 8mph.

David Cockrell, director of Mapmechanics, said: ‘The use of mobility scooters is only likely to grow as the baby boomer generation moves into old age and with rising levels of obesity across all generations.

‘We’re likely to see more people with little road craft awareness of scooters on pavements and roads, so accidents may continue to increase.’

An estimated 350,000 people in Britain use mobility scooters, and 80,000 are sold annually, with sales growing by up to 10 per cent a year.

Drivers do not need a licence or road tax.

Only scooters with a top speed of 8mph are legally permitted to drive on roads, and need to be fitted with headlamps, mirrors and a horn.

They can be driven on a dual carriageway if they use a flashing amber light.

‘WE DO RECOMMEND EVERYONE HAS PUBLIC LIABILITY INSURANCE’

Staff from a mobility scooter store have advised people to make sure they have public liability insurance before taking scooters out on the streets.

Simon Kelly, from Solent Mobility Centre in Lee-on-the-Solent, said they comprehensively check people when they buy machines from their store – but he said that other stores are not so stringent with their policies.

He said: ‘We try and make sure that people are as aware as they can be when buying a scooter.

‘There’s no legal requirement for insurance, but we do recommend everyone has public liability insurance in case of incidents like the one with Mr Laver.’

He advised people thinking of buying a scooter to make sure they try out a machine first through schemes such as Portsmouth Shopmobility, or take a training course with organisations such as the Gosport Older Persons Forum.