From a note I put on FB this morning and thought I’d put it here too:
mobility scooters a dangerous menace to pedestrians
by Rebecca Hulit on Sunday, March 4, 2012 at 10:42am ·
This morning I read a post from a FaceBook friend sharing her frustration over being nearly run over by an individual on a mobility scooter inside a store while she shopped. At first glance this might simply be an amusing account but the more I thought about it, the more curious I became examining the dimensions of an ever-growing problem.
The first law concerning traffic is a legal issue just about anywhere is that of yielding to pedestrians (those on foot which differs in definition, even in Webster’s Dictionary, to those behind a powered vehicle (which would apply to power scooters).
The second law (still in traffic) is mainly that of ethics. Most of us are taught to honor the handicapped so we are careful to move out of their way, giving them the right of way. However, there becomes a real difference between the definition of ‘handicapped’ when applied to one who has been given a methodology that moves them from immobile to VERY mobile.
The third law (again still in traffic) is individual responsibility within a gray area. And this is an issue that may need to be addressed very soon as the world’s major population ages and mobility scooters become a staggering pattern. I’m one of the aging population and now have some difficulty walking so I’m not as maneuverable as I once was and have been nearly run over by some on mobility scooters who seem to think I can jump out of their way.
So I got curious to see if there were some encounters in the news to give more credence to my and other folks’ growing concerns. Not only did I find injuries to pedestrians, but also deaths from mobility scooter ‘drivers’ as well as traffic snarls on main highways from irresponsible behaviors. Amazingly, because mobility scooters do not presently fall under the same liabilities as other motor vehicles, the drivers cannot be prosecuted the same way even though a goodly number may well be under the influence of medications, unable to hear well, unable to see well even with glasses as well as many having impaired reflexes that banish them from driving a car.
Among articles found just through Google:
“There have even been injuries to pedestrians. Last year two-year-old Madison McNair was knocked down by a 70-year-old woman driving a mobility scooter on a pedestrianised street in Doncaster.
Caught in the wheels of the machine, the toddler was dragged down the road as the driver carried on apparently unaware of what had happened. Since mobility scooters are exempt from the Road Traffic Act the police were powerless to act against the driver.”
“This situation has come back into the spotlight after the inquest of a 90-year-old lady who died from her injuries after being knocked down by a scooter driven by a man who was alleged to drive aggressively. Mobility scooter drivers are exempt from prosecution for careless or dangerous driving because their scooters are not classified as a motor vehicle. Consequently the coroner has called for the laws surrounding the use of mobility scooters to be reassessed.”