MPs urge clarification on mobility scooter rules

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The Independent Online

The Government needs to sort out mobility scooter rules, a report by MPs said today.

It was important that the Government collected better data on the use of these scooters, the report from the House of Commons Transport Committee said.

The Department for Transport (DfT) must clarify just who is fit to drive a mobility scooter in a public place, the committee added.

The MPs noted the DfT launched a consultation exercise on the issue of mobility scooters but was concerned that, after a similar review in 2005, ministers failed to act on many of its findings.

This time it was important that the Government acted on the consultation conclusions, said the committee's chairman Louise Ellman (Lab, Liverpool Riverside).

She added: "Increasingly, mobility scooters are a vital aid for many people in the UK. We welcome the independence that these vehicles can give people to go about their daily lives.

"However, we are concerned about the many reported accidents and injuries involving the scooters.

"The Government does not have adequate data on either how many mobility scooters are currently in use or on the number and type of accidents in which they might be involved."

Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: "We welcome the call for data to be collected on incidents involving mobility scooters, because current evidence relating to accidents and injuries is sparse.

"The lack of such data means it is difficult to justify introducing new regulations that may be disproportionate to the level of risk associated with mobility scooters.

"It is a balance we have to get right because mobility scooters fulfil a very valuable and important function, helping many people to enjoy a much better quality of life than they would otherwise be able to do."

Andrew Howard, the AA's head of road safety, said: "One of the reasons for the success of British road safety has been that we monitor accidents well and act to stop those that we know are happening, rather than those that we think may be happening.

"That is what we need to do here, to make sure that we don't deny people independence and mobility until we know what the real danger is and how we can remedy it."

He went on: "However, we must remember that these vehicles cannot provide as much protection as a car, and are used by the old and the infirm.

"Unfortunately, these people are more frail and therefore more likely to be killed or injured in accidents compared to younger, fitter people. That must not be forgotten when more information about accidents becomes available."