A MOBILITY scooter trainer has backed calls for tests to determine who should be allowed to use them, following the death of one of his customers in a road accident.
Dan Hillerby, managing director of One Care Mobility, in Northallerton, said politicians should press for legislation to ensure scooter users are both physically fit enough and sufficiently able to control the machines.
Mr Hillerby, who has worked with mobility scooter clients across County Durham, Teesside and North Yorkshire for 11 years, said he agreed with North Yorkshire coroner Michael Oakley that the Government should regulate the industry.
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The inquest of Mr Hillerby’s customer Ron Archbold, 85, of Bedale, this week, heard how the pensioner had serious sight problems when his scooter “bolted out” in front of a car in the town.
Mr Hillerby said: “I do raise concerns with our customers’ families and refuse to sell scooters to people when we don’t feel they are capable.
“The number of accidents is increasing. We are getting one repair a week, whether it is a minor accident, crashing off kerbs, being hit by a car, driving into things or other damage.”
He said when he conducts scooter training sessions at nursing homes he is often frustrated by low uptakes and it had become clear some users’ knowledge of the separate code for driving on pavements was lacking.
He said: “We are finding people are not aware of some of the most basic rules, such as the 4mph speed limit on pavements.”
Following the inquest, coroner Michael Oakley said he would write to the Government calling for regulations over who could ride the scooters.
Mr Hillerby said he had become increasingly concerned anybody could sell scooters and that many unsuitable vehicles were being sold over the internet, where his firm insists on conducting suitability tests with its customers.
He also suggested scooter users should be given 12-month licences, which could be renewed following a medical check-up by GPs.
A Department of Transport spokesman said it would limit a forthcoming mobility scooter trial scheme to testing users’ eyes and had no plans to regulate sales of the vehicles.