Petition to tighten regulations for scooter users.
After an incident on Feltham’s High Street, London the family of a 92-year-old who suffered severe injuries after being hit by a mobility scooter is now supporting a petition asking for the government to review the regulations surrounding mobility scooter usage and liability. The petition was created by the grandson of an 87-year-old woman who was similarly struck by a mobility scooter earlier last year. The petition describes how: “Currently in the UK, there is no legal requirement to have insurance or training to own/operate a mobility scooter,” as well as there being “no identification of a mobility scooter/driver if an accident is caused, removing all liability.”
This petition has gained traction in recent months as there have been an increasing number of mobility scooter accidents as a result of the increased popularity and number of scooters in circulation. Whilst the mobility industry is looking for ways to tackle this problem there have been continued calls for a regulation change, compulsory insurance and better assessment of users.
How to reduce the number of accidents:
There are many ways that these accidents could be avoided. Some of the many ideas presented include providing customers with good instruction in use and even professional assessment so that they can be licensed to drive these vehicles. Some say this would be too difficult and time consuming; however there is already a system in place that can qualify and train people. Various agencies have already produced Assistive Technology Training courses that can assess the disabled users of mobility scooters. There are also a number of agencies who can officially endorse and certificate the outcome. Assuring that all products are high quality and reliable will also reduce the number of accidents. There have even been calls for a compulsory insurance scheme for all users, but this is believed to be a long term solution with no obvious signs of implementation in the near future.
To address this issue the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) has introduced a robust Code of Practice that aims to improve the confidence and behaviour of the customers using the vehicles as well as steps to address training, qualification and certification.
Last year Nottingham Trent University released a new training tool for mobility scooter users to improve awareness and handling of hazards. Furthermore, a nationwide mobility retailer launched a scooter with a bumper stop that is designed to limit the impact and therefore minimise the damage to the person in the event of an accident.
Criticism of potential solutions:
Many in the industry have suggested that compulsory insurance would increase prices, which would create a barrier for many that rely on their mobility scooter. Meanwhile, others note that a growing second-hand market would make the introduction of assessment qualifications ineffective for tackling the issue directly. The biggest issue with the project to improve the safety of citizens effectively through assessment and other methods is that it will inevitably require lots of funding and resources to organise.
Update (May 2020): The petition was stopped by the recent general election – if you feel strongly about this issue why not start your own petition?