A police force is rolling out Britain’s first driving safety course for mobility scooter riders after receiving scores of complaints about poor ‘scooting’.
Norfolk Constabulary has developed the pioneering ‘Safe Scoot’ campaign and put pensioners through their paces today.
Drivers in Norwich, Norfolk, got behind the wheel of their mobility scooters and negotiated slopes, kerbs and pedestrian crossings under the watchful eye of police instructors.
Elderly drivers were also asked to tackle a slalom of cones on a three-hour course taking them through a car park at The Forum shopping centre, in Norwich.
Chief Inspector Dennis Lacey, of Norwich’s city centre team, believes it is vital that the elderly and disabled are trained to drive scooters safely.
He said: ”The aim is to improve safety awareness among mobility scooter users by increasing their confidence when carrying out manoeuvres such as parking, reversing and negotiating kerbs.
”Mobility scooters can be a vital mode of transport for some people. However, we need to ensure that mobility scooters are used in an appropriate and safe manner.
”A course such as this can ensure members of the public are using them correctly
”I would urge anyone who uses a mobility scooter to take the opportunity to watch the DVD or speak to an expert to get as much advice as possible.”
Mobility scooter users currently need no training or insurance for the vehicles, some of which can travel up to eight miles per hour.
There are around 330,000 mobility scooter drivers in the UK and they are road legal but can also be driven on pavements and in pedestrian areas.
Drivers received advice from road safety experts after completing the three-hour course today.
The instructors spoke to mobility scooter drivers about problems safely navigating on roads, pavements and pedestrian areas.
Elderly drivers were also shown Norfolk Constabulary’s video ‘Safe Scoot’ with tips on how to use the roads and pavements safely.
The video has been produced in partnership with Halfords and narrated by Sheila Reid, star of hit ITV series ‘Benidorm’.
Jim Rawlings, Senior Information Officer with national disability charity Mobilise, urged the government to make training for mobility scooters a legal requirement.
He said: ”As a charity we have been involved in consultation with the government about potential changes in legislation, and improvements in training is something we strongly advocate.”
In September a pensioner was videoed driving his mobility scooter down a open road – while transporting a roll of carpet.