A newspaper is highlighting the risks surrounding mobility buggies after a spate of incidents left several people injured.
The Southern Daily Echo is asking readers whether scooter users should take driving tests before being permitted to use their machines on roads, pavements and in shopping centres.
The paper had reported on the story of a 90-year-old woman who was struck by someone driving one of the buggies while walking on the pavement. She needed hospital treatment for a black eye and facial injuries.
Echo readers were asked if they thought mobility scooter users should take a test or receive improved safety guidance and instructions before being allowed to use their machines.
Editor Ian Murray said it was a topic that had touched a raw nerve with a lot of people.
Said Ian: “We are not calling for a driving test as such, but at present it seems amazing that anyone can take to the pavements and the roads with these machines with no training and no insurance.”
As part of the paper’s features into what it has labelled a Focus on Scooter Safety, reporter Martyn Hannah was sent out to trial two forms of buggies. He described his attempts to drive a buggy on a busy road as ‘terrifying.’
Added Ian: “To be honest this is one of those campaigns where you know you are stepping into tricky territory. For many mobility scooter users this is their lifeline to society and they are understandably wary of any changes to rules and regulations. The paper is treading carefully, sensitive, I hope, to everyone’s needs.
“We’re not trying to drive mobility scooter users off the pavements nor the roads, but it makes sense that as the population grows older and more of these machines take to the roads and pavements there are better safety guidelines.”
The paper already has backing from a Hampshire-based mobility group calling for the need to improve education and training around the use of the scooters.