Statistics released from the Department of Transport last year revealed that the number of deaths resulting from mobility scooters in 2016 was at an all-time high of 14, with the total number of incidents reported at 260 – almost triple that of 2012, where the number of accidents reached just 84.
With these figures rising every year, there has been considerable pressure on the government to consider altering the legislation surrounding mobility scooters in order to keep people safe.
The executive director of the parliamentary advisory council for transport safety, Daniel Davies, recently conducted an interview with The Times, wherein he commented that traditional interventions such as speed awareness courses and safety cameras may not be effective. He said “new approaches will be needed. The laws and highway code may need to change”.
There has already been controversy surrounding mobility scooter legislation; in 2012, Labour MP Alison Seabeck called for compulsory training to be given to mobility scooter users, and for stricter safety checks to be enforced. Likewise, there have been suggestions to include number plates for mobility scooters made by Conservative MP Kevin Foster in 2016, but these motions have so far been rejected – leaving the question of what exactly will the changes to mobility scooter laws be?
With over 350,000 people estimated to use a mobility scooter regularly in the UK, finding an infrastructure that is safe and efficient for all road users, pedestrians and mobility scooter drivers can be a difficult task, especially with mobility scooter users sometimes forced to alternate between using the roads, and using the pavements.
As the aging population continues to grow, with mobility scooter on offer but not yet compulsory, the number of accidents related to mobility scooters may also continue to rise.
Would you always seek out training before you begin driving a mobility scooter? Do you think it should be compulsory? 2018 may be the year where those questions are finally addressed.