The government should collect better information about the number of accidents involving mobility scooters, according to a committee of MPs.
A new report from the transport select committee says anecdotal evidence suggests there are growing numbers of scooter-users and accidents involving scooters, despite “insufficient official data”.
The government is in the middle of a three-month consultation on reforms aimed at modernising laws on mobility vehicles, including both powered wheelchairs and scooters, following “growing concern” about safety.
The consultation could lead to users of mobility vehicles having to undergo training, take a safety assessment and buy third-party insurance.
The committee’s report says the government “must act” on the findings of its consultation, collect better data on the “number and nature of incidents involving mobility scooters” and clarify who is fit to drive a mobility scooter in a public place.
It adds: “Only by doing so, will issues such as the legal status of mobility scooters, the appropriateness of proficiency tests and the rights of users to take the vehicles on public transport be adequately addressed.”
Louise Ellman MP, chair of the committee, said its members “welcome the independence that these vehicles can give people” but were “concerned about the many reported accidents and injuries involving the scooters”.
The committee said it was concerned that the government had failed to act on many of the recommendations of a Department for Transport review in 2005.
In his evidence to the committee, transport minister Sadiq Khan said the government had believed at the time that the problem was “not as serious an issue as it could be now”, with few reports of injuries.
He said the government had ensured that this year’s national travel survey would include a category for accidents involving mobility scooters, in order to collect information about the extent of the problem.
6 April 2010