Personal injury solicitor, James McNally examines the rising number of mobility scooter accidents
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The law currently does not require the owner of a mobility scooter to take out accident insurance, hold a licence or even to pass a proficiency test of any kind. However the increasing number of accidents and injuries involving mobility scooters has led to Parliament considering the need for mobility scooter riders to take out insurance, with the DVLA strongly advising mobility scooter owners arrange cover. Almost two-thirds of respondents to a Department of Transport survey last year agreed scooter riders should be subject to the same rules as other motorists.
Calls to our free accident claim helpline over the last 12 months from people who have been hit by mobility scooters have risen sharply. A mobility scooter accident might sound trivial but people are suffering injuries of a type you would normally expect to see when someone is hit by a car travelling 10 to 15 mph. One of our solicitors even investigated an accident in which the person who was hit by a mobility scooter died as a result of their injuries. It is clearly a serious problem.
Another worrying trend is the failure of many scooter drivers to stop when an accident occurs. Even when they do stop, if they are uninsured then there is often no prospect of recovering compensation.
Some say that a change in the law would heap added costs onto vulnerable people who depend on mobility scooters to maintain their independence. However this view fails to take account of the real danger these vehicles present to pedestrians. The simple reality is that you can pop out to get your shopping one afternoon and end up off work with no pay coming in for the next six weeks while you recover from a broken ankle.
It is estimated by the Department of Transport that there are currently 330,000 mobility scooters in use in the UK and that 95% of all mobility scooter accidents are the fault of the driver.