Scooters can be a lifeline but must be used safely

NEWS COMMENT: Drop-in centre in north of city would ease pressure on QA

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Mobility scooters are becoming a much more common sight and if you are one of those who needs help getting around, that can be viewed as a good thing.

It’s certainly true that more people appear to rely on these motorised vehicles now to do their shopping, attend appointments and generally go about their daily business.

Of course, some will question whether everyone who rides a scooter genuinely needs one, or whether it’s just a sign that we’re perhaps leading more sedentary lives.

But that should not take away from the fact there are those who have found that owning a mobility scooter is like holding a passport to freedom in their hands.

Independence is something to be cherished and if a scooter makes the difference between someone being trapped at home and getting out then that’s great.

Yet there is a case for tighter controls to be placed on the use of these vehicles – and that’s to protect those who use them, as well as others who have a right to walk in a public place, without fear of being struck.

David Moreton has our greatest sympathy because he was left in agony after a mobility scooter knocked him off his feet.

We don’t suggest that the woman who bumped into him intended to cause so much damage, but the coming-together occurred nonetheless.

While it’s not safe or practical to insist that all those who use a mobility scooter should take to the roads, some thought must go into whether pavements and precincts are still suitable.

Existing guidelines make clear that scooter users should give pedestrians priority and stick well below a sensible speed limit.

But at the very least, all those who are allowed out in public on a scooter should be trained to a satisfactory standard to make sure they are in proper control of these mini-vehicles at all times. Perhaps a test should also be considered?

No-one wants to penalise those who view these scooters as their lifeline. But there must be a way of keeping everyone safe in the future.