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Mobility scooter campaigner goes to No. 10

With more mobility scooters than ever on our roads and pavements i wondered how long it would be before we're presented with news on incidents and accidents involving pedestrians. With some scooters getting heavier and faster its becoming quite a problem. This however does not apply to electric wheelchairs or powerchairs as they are altogether different and are only intended for the disabled and will travel at lesser speeds.

This week Caren Jephson who has been campaigning about the dangers of mobility scooters visited Downing Street to deliver letters involving more than 300 people injured by them - all from in and around one city.

Caren Jephson, from Derby, started campaigning after her son was injured by a mobility scooter in October.

Mrs Jephson and Mid Derbyshire MP Pauline Latham took a petition to 10 Downing Street on Monday.

Transport Minister Norman Baker said a pilot scheme is being developed where users are given a sight test.

Mrs Jephson said: "The quicker they deal with the issue the fewer deaths and injuries there will be."

In the four months since starting her campaign, Mrs Jephson has received more than 300 letters and emails from people injured by mobility scooters. Please note these are not electric wheelchairs.

MPs have previously considered introducing a fit-to-drive test. All were written by people in Derby and the surrounding area.

"Derby is a small place and if you went national I'm quite sure there would be a lot more tragedies," said Mrs Jephson.

She said mobility scooters endangered users too. In June, an 88-year-old man died after his mobility scooter collided with a bus in Burton.

The charity Age UK supports the idea of voluntary training for mobility scooter users, but believes additional laws could discourage some vulnerable older people from using them.

'Drunk users'
Mrs Jephson is campaigning for the introduction of a proficiency test for mobility scooter users, to make them for disabled users only, and to have identification on scooters.

She has received claims of people using mobility scooters while drunk.

"One woman was hit by a man who came out from a nursing home [on a mobility scooter] with a can of beer in his hand," she said.

She has collected more than 3,000 paper petition signatures and recently set up an online petition.

MPs have previously considered introducing a fit-to-drive test.

A coroner also criticised the "serious lack" of regulations after a 90-year-old woman was knocked down on an Isle of Wight pavement and killed in 2009.

'Important balance'
Transport Minister Norman Baker said: "We are working with mobility vehicle trainers, retailers and others to promote more safety training in addition to developing plans for a pilot scheme in which scooter drivers are given a standard eye test. Please note this doesn't apply to electric wheelchairs.

"There is an important balance to be had between the safety of pedestrians and the mobility of those who would otherwise be left housebound."

Michelle Mitchell, charity director general at Age UK, said: "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.

"Age UK support the idea of voluntary training for the safety of drivers and other people on the road." Please note these are not electric wheelchairs.

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