Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The Trouble With Mobility Scooters

I came across this old Guardian article written back in 2012.

The Trouble With Mobility Scooters

I would think that not only does it still apply today but the attitude expressed in it is probably worse now 7 years later when there are even more scooters on both road and pavement.

The ignorance and intolerance expressed in some of the comments is amazing.  Although I'm not surprised about this really because being an ex-bicyclist I had my fair share of ignorance of the law and intolerance from others of my just existing.

There are bad mobility scooter users, bad cyclists and bad motorists, and we can go one step further and say there are also bad pedestrians never looking where they are going, pushing past rudely along with texting as they walk.

Many people aren't aware that mobility scooters are legal to ride on the road or that they have to be registered if their scooter has a maximum speed of above 4mph.  Neither are they aware that the vast majority of scooter owners are insured.  So common complaints are that they should be registered and insured.

Having said that, I personally would have no objection to the law being changed to making it compulsory to show one's number plate on the back of the scooter.  We are after all issued with a number plate already on registering our scooters.  Nor would I object to compulsory insurance, although I fear that if it became compulsory insurance companies would take advantage of this and increase the present premiums dramatically.  Where there's gelt there is always greed.

The third complaint from the general public is that one doesn't require any sort of test to ride a scooter.  This one is a little more complicated.

In order to have a test when buying a new scooter suppliers would have to own allocated land large enough to give their customer a test, and who's job would it be to pass that customer as fit and able enough to pass the test?  And who pays out the cash that it would cost the supplier to transport the scooter to the testing ground and his/her time in giving the test?

Buying a second hand scooter would be even more complicated.  For most people a second hand scooter would be their first ever scooter and so they wouldn't have had the test for buying a brand new one.  So who tests the second hand buyer?

For those that might say that the test should be an official test, overseen by officials and on official grounds and a scooter licence issued, once again one has to think of the cost involved.  Does it come out of the disabled or elderly customers meagre allowance or does it come out of the public purse?  I'm sure if it came out of public taxes there would soon be a hue and cry.

As for enforcing only the disabled to be allowed to own and ride one.  Does that mean that only registered disabled are allow to own one, baring in mind that not all disabled people are registered.  One is only registered when claiming disability payments.  So do we now need a disability certificate from our Doctor?  Or does the government do these disability examinations for would be scooter owners?  Does it count if you are elderly and find difficulty walking a distance but don't actually suffer from any disease other than old age?  How ill or disabled does one have to be to qualify?

Many of us have illnesses or disablement that simply do not allow us to walk too far, stand too long or to carry heavy shopping.  But it seems that the answer to that from some people is "Catch a bus" without thinking of the walking to the bus stop, the standing waiting for a bus, and the walking to and from each shop before making one's way back to the bus all the while carrying our purchases.

So in conclusion I believe that all, including those who's maximum speed is only 4mph, should be registered and enforced to put their number plate on the back of the vehicle.  It seems to be that the main objection to scooters by the public is that they have no way to register a complaint to the police if they are physically harmed by one.

However there is then also the problem that police would have time and money wasted by people simply reporting that in their opinion a scooter user was speeding on the pavement.  Police do have to follow up on all reports.

Perhaps we should all be just a little more tolerant of those few that don't always follow the rules.

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