Mobility Scooters As Weapons Of Mass Destruction

Thursday, June 7, 2007 8:28 | Filed in Disability

I have already mentioned that I have a problem with some users of mobility scooters. I don’t mind people having them: I accept that they’re a useful method for getting around, particularly if someone has some disability. I’m right behind equality for disabled people. I’d hardly talk so much about accessibility, taking part in Blogging Against Disablism day and so on if I wasn’t in favour of equality and fairness.

So it’s not the scooters themselves I object to. What I object to is the fact that these are frequently to be found in the hands of people who seem unable to control them and are a menace to other people and to themselves.

Now, what I hadn’t realised was that any mobility scooter which can exceed 4 mph must be registered with the DVLA, although it isn’t a legal requirement to have insurance. I’m not convinced about this, particularly as some of the drivers appear either to be unable to control their vehicles or not to mind driving through pedestrians.

It’s important to note that I’m not against mobility scooters: I’m all in favour of improving the mobility of elderly or disabled people, about improving their quality of life and helping them to live as independent a life as possible. That’s all fantastic.

I just have a concern that some (not all) users of these devices aren’t capable of driving them correctly — because so far as I’m aware there’s no “driving test” — and are risking injury to themselves and to others, and on top of that, may not have any insurance.

There does also seem to be some evidence — other than just my anecdotal observations — that some drivers aren’t managing their scooters properly after a scooter was driven onto a train with such force it broke open the doors on the opposite side. Now, imagine a small child had been standing in front of those doors. Doors which, you’ll note have never, ever been forced open in this manner before:

We’ve had incidents of vandals kicking doors and damaging locks and in those cases the trains have been taken out of service. But in 27 years of operating the Metro, no door has ever been forced open. It’s unprecedented.Huw Lewis, Nexus

Let’s keep mobility scooters, and ensure that people get access to an enhanced quality of life by getting that increased mobility. But if people don’t have the skills or abilities to successfully control one of these scooters, don’t give them ones with the same degree of power. Give them a smaller, less forceful one with which they are less likely to harm themselves or others…

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19 Comments to Mobility Scooters As Weapons Of Mass Destruction

  1. mark fairlamb says:

    June 7th, 2007 at 10:03 am

    i’m particularly ‘amused’ by the ones that drive around gateshead on the road as if they are cars.
    road tax?
    exceeding 4mph?

  2. The Goldfish says:

    June 7th, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    I think rather like cars, one has to question the merit of allowing these things to go so fast. In the same way that nobody needs a road vehicle that can drive at 100mph, nobody needs a scooter which goes any faster that 4mph – most people can’t sustain that kind of pace walking.

    However, rather like driving a car on a reasonably clear road, there is a great temptation to go as fast as you can possibly go…

  3. mark fairlamb says:

    June 8th, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    i don’t want them to go fast, just stay off the road.

  4. Dave Axford says:

    October 18th, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    After a bike accident(non fault), I,m stuck,for the time being, with not being able to walk, & one of my friends gave me an electric scooter. This thing can supposedly do 6mph,& even though I,m an advanced driver, & motorcyclist,gives me the frights if I try to travel at that speed around town .(pavements obv.)
    The problem is, that pedestrians dont travel at that speed, and wander all over the place, (the worst, being young women in a magpie shopping stupor,-seeing something sparkly, in a shop window,usually sunglasses to wear as hairpieces or similar)and change direction without any warning.
    The answers are either,to fit pedestrians with rear view mirrors, and indicators(but to be honest, most people cant use them when driving a car, so what chance when walking?),or limit the speed of said scooters,to walking pace,along with some kind of training.
    My gran cant see past the end of her nose,and tries to write letters to king george,on haddock, but can get on one of these scoots, and bugger off into town at 6mph to maim people!
    Scooters are fitted with an adjustable speed limiter,but my gran cant wee on her own, let alone DRIVE ! so with respect,TRAINING,is the answer,& some form of NOT SELLING, to people who are obviously not capable of using them safely. Maybe holding the salesman responsible after selling (at great profit)to senile and uncapable people.

  5. brett says:

    October 26th, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    ah hem – why is it the vast majority of rants about mobility scooter users – are from those who have never driven one in their lives ?? – yes i agree there are those who use them irresponsibly – but there are irresponsible car drivers who :

    don’t indicate
    don’t give way on crossings ( i was nearly taken out by one a while back )
    park in front of /on drop curbs forcing us out into the road to get past
    cut us up if we HAVE to use the road
    are generally inconsiderate /just don’t see us ( there are also some very considerate drivers too thank god )

    irresponsible cyclists who :

    cycle on pavements
    speed far in excess of 4 mph !! ( or even 8 )
    have no breaks
    have no warning device ( despite the law requiring one )

    irresponsible pedestrians who :

    walk round in a dream
    use i – pods and other music things totally cutting them off from whats happening around them
    walk in to us
    let their kids run loose and even laugh if the child jumps in front of us
    don’t see us ( i have 2 orange flashing beacons on my scooter and they STILL don’t see me )
    abuse us
    spit at us
    walk round with their heads down whilst using mobile phones ( why do they do that ?? )

    so before you moan about scooter users – are you all so perfect ?? – no you ain’t

    i insure and tax my scoot – and fortunately being a trained ex emergency vehicle driver have lightning reflexes ( and boy do i need them sometimes !! )

    we all just trying to get somewhere – show us a bit more consideration – and we may just show you some – just consider yourself LUCKY – you don’t NEED to use one of these devices – if you DID you may have a slightly different take on things !!

  6. JackP says:

    October 29th, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    “why is it the vast majority of rants about mobility scooter users – are from those who have never driven one in their lives ??”
    —because most people haven’t driven one. That doesn’t mean I don’t have consideration for them. Indeed, if you look around my site, you’ll see I have quite an interest in disability issues (I hesitate to call it that as it sounds wanky, but as I appear to be being tagged an inconsiderate so-and-so by someone who doesn’t know me again, I feel the need to defend myself).

    So I’m not against mobility scooters per se. I’m against the proportion of people who drive them without either the appropriate ability or consideration for others (and it sounds like you aren’t in this category) — as indeed I complain about car drivers who fit into the same category. And as for bloody pedestrians… despite being a pedestrian most of the time, I drive from time to time, and the number of people who seem to have a death wish…

  7. Barrie Hill says:

    December 3rd, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    there are some very interesting views about the safe use of mobility scooters. I run the local Shopmobility scheme and we train all our users on how to use them correctly. We have got together with most of the Shopmobility schemes in the Wessex area and are in the process of making a training film that will be available to all early next year. We will be seeking accreditation so that it will become an accepted training standard. Mobility scooters are a lifeline to so many people (we have over 8000 uses each year) and can count the reported incidents on one hand. I guess that has a lot to do with the fact that usually any collision does not usually result in serious injury, although this can happen.
    Training and insurance are key factors in the responsible use of any powered vehicle use.

  8. JackP says:

    December 5th, 2008 at 9:54 am

    I’d say that’s training, insurance, and responsible driving. Sadly, the problem is that — like for so many other things — a small minority of scooter drivers are the problem. Also, I don’t know whether other shopmobility schemes are as responsible as you are — I’d hope so, but I just don’t know.

    For example, in the Tyne and Wear area, scooters are banned on the metro (local ‘underground’ equivalent) because of accidents. Again, this is a shame because for an awful lot of responsible drivers this causes difficulties. The problem is that there does not seem to be an easy way to identify those who are idiotic, irresponsible or possibly simply incapable of controlling their vehicle properly and allowing everyone else to happily get on with life!

  9. Mr M says:

    July 6th, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    “As the most sedate of motor transport, you’d think they are of little use as getaway cars.

    But gangsters are finding their BMWs and Ferraris are becoming easy prey for the long arm of the law… and making mobility scooters their latest must-have.

    Police say dealers have been posing as disabled people to smuggle drugs through the streets, hiding the stash inside the scooters.

    With a top speed of only 8mph, the scooters are small enough to beat traffic jams and are generally inconspicuous.

    A Metropolitan Police officer said: “This is just the latest tactic drug dealers have been using to try to keep ahead of the police.

    “We’ve seen scooters bought specifically to move large amounts of illegal drugs over short distances.

    “The substances have been packed into the insides of scooters and hidden. We can only assume they do it because they think we won’t search them.

    “These are not disabled people. Dealers are trying to find new ways to do their business because they know we are on to them.”

    Police have used Automatic Number Plate Recognition to track down dealers’ cars – often BMWs, Ferraris and Lamborghinis – and so they moved to bicycles to avoid detection.

    Mobility scooters do not need number plates or insurance and are a more anonymous way of travelling.”

    From the Mail

  10. Pride Mobility Scooters says:

    June 20th, 2010 at 2:14 pm


    These are mobility scooters, not race cars.They help those that have trouble walking. They are not meant to be a mode of long distance transportation. Five MPH would be pretty fast if you bumped into someone while shopping at the mall.


  11. Go Go Scooter says:

    October 6th, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Point taken JackP..

    But no matter how bad a mobility scooter driver might be… you gotta admit that these machines have done wonders for people who just a few years ago would have been completely dependent on others…

    There’s always negatives..

  12. tyres in Redditch says:

    May 16th, 2011 at 6:43 am

    Scooters are miracle workers when you need to nip up to the shops, or join the family for a day out, but like anything in life, if you don’t have the correct one to suit your needs you will be left feeling as though you have wasted your time and money on something which does not meet expectations.

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  17. Maira says:

    September 5th, 2012 at 4:48 am

    Ah…..!!!The classic expmlae of a mistake. I suggest that if you’ve never driven one before that you don’t. Traffic in Thailand is very, very dangerous to say the least. Think of it like this… In your home country can you ride a scooter or a motorbike without a license? Technically it’s also against the law in Thailand to ride without one as well. A motorbike license that is.

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