Coroner calls for laws to govern mobility scooters after death of Bedale man, 85 (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Coroner calls for laws to govern mobility scooters after death of Bedale man, 85
MOBILITY scooter users should have to pass a test before they are allowed out in public, a coroner said at the inquest of a pensioner with serious sight problems killed when he "bolted out" in front of a car.
Ron Archbold, 85, of Queen Ann's Drive, Bedale, North Yorkshire, bought the scooter after giving up driving 18 months beforehand.
He was killed as he crossed a junction in the town last September.
Michael Oakley, coroner for North Yorkshire East, told the inquest into Mr Archbold's death, that there were currently no regulations governing who could ride a mobility scooter and said he would write to the Government asking for them to be introduced.
However, the Department for Transport (Dft) said tonight (Tuesday, February 26) that although it was developing plans for a pilot scheme in which people would be given standard eye tests, there were no plans to introduce formal training.
And pensioners' charity, Age UK, said legislation might discourage some people from considering mobility scooters, leaving them isolated.
Recalling the accident in which Mr Archbold died, cyclist Jason Cuthbertson, said he saw the pensioner at the junction.
"I saw the mobility scooter bolt out," he said. "It was about ten yards away and there was nothing the car driver could have done."
Accident investigator, TC Paul Davenport told the inquest Mr Archbold had taken to watching television three feet away from the screen and a medical report found serious problems with his vision.
"This collision occurred when Mr Archbold came from Firby Road into the path of (the) car, it should have been clearly visible to him, but the state of Mr Archbold's eyesight had an impact on this collision," he said.
Recording a verdict of accidental death, Mr Oakley, said: "There are no regulations about buying a mobility scooter, no regulations for training or eyesight checks.
"I propose to write to the Department for Transport with a Rule 43 recommendation that steps should be taken to bring in regulations for these types of mobility scooters."
The calls comes as Caren Jephson (CORR) from Derbyshire, whose nine-year-old son was injured by a mobility scooter, was due to hand in a 3,000-name petition to the Government calling for laws to cover Britains estimated 300,000 mobility scooters.
The spokesman for the Department for Transport said the Government wanted to ensure scooter users were both safe and considerate.
"That is why we are working with mobility vehicle trainers, retailers and others to promote more safety training and are developing plans for a pilot scheme in which scooter drivers are given a standard eye tests," he said.
However, he added: "We have no plans to make it necessary for mobility vehicles to have number plates or to require people to undertake mandatory training."
Age UK director general, Michelle Mitchell, said scooters help those with mobility problems maintain their independence.
"Additional laws could discourage vulnerable older people from using mobility scooters, meaning that they become unable to access local services, stay in touch with friends, family or in some cases even remain independent," she said. "Age UK support the idea of voluntary training for the safety of drivers and other people on the road."
A spokesman for The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, RoSPA, said: "The Government recently committed to collecting more data, and this is welcome, as it will help to develop current initiatives to be more effective at preventing mobility scooter-related injuries and accidents."