Angry Portsmouth mobility scooter rider subjected to abuse on roads wants to 'stick two fingers up' to drivers as law says vehicles allowed on roads

AN ANGRY mobility scooter driver has hit back at car drivers who ‘wind down the window and shout abuse’ telling her to get off the road.

Saturday, 15th January 2022, 4:55 am
Updated Sunday, 16th January 2022, 10:49 am

Irene Bessant, 64, said she is subjected to vile abuse almost every day by seething motorists when she rides on the city centre roads.

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But the vulnerable road user, who only has a mobility scooter because she suffers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), has told motorists to check their facts - with it ‘perfectly legal’ for her to be on the roads.

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A mobility scooter

Irene, who lives in the city centre, said: ‘We are allowed on the road if we are registered with DVLA. We have all the proper documents and a number plate, though we are not obliged to put this on, and we pay tax.

‘We have to have things like front and rear indicators and lights. I carry the documents with me so if I’m stopped I can show drivers and say “have that”.’

Irene regularly travels down Goldsmith Avenue where she says the abuse is rampant. ‘People in cars wind down the windows and tell you to get off the f****** road,’ she said.

‘I get shouted at most days, probably about five times a week.

Goldsmith Avenue is closed in both direction. Picture: Google Maps

‘It’s not very nice and is nerve-wracking when it happens. I want to stick two fingers up and tell them I’m allowed but I have to concentrate on my driving and the traffic and carry on plodding along the road.’

She added: ‘It’s dangerous when the driver is shouting because they are not looking at the road and could crash into something.

‘I would rather be walking than riding the scooter which I have for a reason because I’ve got COPD.

‘In other countries I’ve been to like Portugal they are very patient and won’t even overtake you on a roundabout but here all you get is abuse.’

Irene pointed out that by riding on the road she is also avoiding ‘hazards’ with pedestrians on pavements and avoids ‘bumps’ if she were going up and down kerbs.

According to the government, certain mobility scooters, known as Class 3, are allowed on the roads. ‘These can be used on the road and have a maximum speed of 4mph off the road and 8mph on the road,’ rules on the government’s website state.

‘You cannot drive on bus lanes, “cycle only” lanes or motorways. Avoid using dual carriageways with a speed limit of over 50mph.

‘You must use an amber flashing light for visibility if you use a Class 3 mobility scooter on a dual carriageway.

‘You must follow the Highway Code if you drive your mobility scooter on the road.’

Irene, who wants to raise awareness of the issue to drivers, added: ‘I’m angry about the abuse I get. There is no need for it. I’m sure I’m not the only one on the road in a mobility scooter getting abused.

‘Drivers need to know the rules and stop abusing us. They should treat us like they do cyclists.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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