A retired caretaker who rides a mobility scooter styled like a Harley Davidson told yesterday how he is repeatedly pulled over by police – for riding on the pavement.
Wheezy rider Geoff Dickson, 64, is fed-up with officers mistaking his £6,000 electric buggy for a road-going chopper motorbike.
He has been pulled over for potentially breaking the law by riding on the pavement and has even been hunted down in cafes after parking his machine on the walkway outside.
But the officers soon back down after Geoff explains that his three-wheeler is fully legal and only capable of 4mph.
The vehicle has become a familiar sight in his home city of Wells, Somerset, and the father-of-three has even earned himself the nickname of ‘Wells Angel’.
He said: “I was told I had to get a mobility scooter so I went to a local store, but all I saw were pink things with baskets on the front – I really wasn’t impressed.
“The woman in the shop asked me what I would be interested in so I told her I wanted something that would go off-road and that looked like a Harley Davidson.
“Just because you are old and disabled doesn’t mean you can’t be cool too.
“They hunted around and showed me the one they had found. I got it last summer and it has really given me a new lease of life.
“Some people call me ‘The Wells Angel’ and that’s fine – it’s only rock n’ roll but I like it.”
Geoff got the scooter last summer after he was diagnosed with HSP – a condition which means his nerves are dying off, leaving him unable to control his legs.
But he was horrified by the thought of getting an ‘old fashioned’ scooter for OAPs and approached his local retailer to ask if they could source something different.
The Sport Rider model features chrome-style forks and handlebars and a large central headlight like a motorbike.
However, his unusual mode of transport quickly attracted the attention of the local police.
He said: “I was driving along the pavement when a police car drove past me then quickly spun around and pulled over.
“When they got out the car one of them was nudging the other and they were laughing.
“One of them said “sorry, brains over here thought you were riding a motorbike on the pavement”. Afterwards they just kept pushing each other and laughing.
“On another occasion a different police officer came up to me whilst I was drinking coffee – I had left the scooter parked outside the shop whilst I had a drink.
“He was going to tell me off for parking on the pavement but then he realised his mistake and asked if they could take a picture of it instead.”
Married Geoff has now become something of a local celebrity and has even earned his own nickname.
He said: “People around here think it’s great – they all call me the ‘Wells Angel’ – people are always stopping me and asking for a picture.
“Having this mobility scooter has really changed my life, I was so against the idea of a
mobility scooter at first and now they can’t get me off it.
“I’ve got my speed set to 4mph, which is walking speed, so quite often little old ladies who have left “road mode” on (8mph) come speeding right past me in their pink scooters with baskets – it’s very funny.
“It’s battery powered and can go about 32 miles on one charge which means I can go to the Somerset Levels and take loads of pictures, which I really enjoy doing.
“It has really given me my mobility back – I wouldn’t be able to get anywhere without it now.”
The pensioner said that his creative choice in mobility scooter had made others feel better about using them.
He said: “There is a young lad down the road who for some reason or another needed a mobility scooter.
“He really didn’t like the idea but then he saw mine and he couldn’t wait to get one.
“If you’re still young at heart and you need a mobility scooter then you should get one like