Sunday, 17 January 2010

Keep Death off the Footpaths

A burgeoning number of high-profile accidents involving the ubiquitous urban mobility scooters have raised concerns over the fact that the geriatric / disabled drivers cannot be prosecuted or banned from driving – which has prompted legislators in the House of Conmans to push for the introduction of licensing laws and a driving competence test.

With a factory-set top speed of 5 mph for the battery-operated mobility scooters designed to travel on pedestrian pavements, you might think that it was hard for their users to drive dangerously.

However senior citizens and disabled ‘mobility maniacs’ are having their scooters fine tuned at ‘Pimp My Ride’ to run at speeds of up to 25 mph – which many achieve regardless of safety to shoppers as they put their clog down and careen flat out through supermarkets and shopping malls after a morning session on the discount Bitch Thumper and Old Headbanger lagers at their local Wetherspoons Pisshead Clinic.

No official statistics exist for the number of accidents involving the scooters, but urban legends have sprung up around the country of old ladies steering into shop windows, mobility scooters trundling along motorways and even people driving off railway platforms in front of Rattletrack trains.

Police have legions of complaints of injuries to pedestrians. Only last year 15-year old chav Ronnie Scrunt was knocked down by a 96-year-old woman driving a mobility scooter on a ‘pedestrians only’ street in Smegmadale as he walked innocently along texting his mates in the local drug rehab’ clinic.

When his hoodie got caught in the wheels of the machine, Scrunt was dragged down the pavement screaming as his white shell suit was torn to shreds and the stone deaf driver - Mrs Gladys Twatt - carried on apparently unaware of what had occurred.
Since mobility scooters are exempt from the Road Traffic Act the police were powerless to act against the driver.

The level of concern is now such that a committee of MPs will begin an inquiry looking at safety implications. One of the issues they will examine is whether geriatric scooter drivers should get some kind of formal examination of competence and training before going out on to the streets – such as establishing if they are blind – and know what the brakes are for.

Last October the case of Wilf Bogbrush – a one-legged chronic Alzheimer’s sufferer - made the tabloid gutter press headlines when he drove up Skidrow-on-Sea’s North Circular with his souped-up mobility scooter, forgot which exit he wanted and carried on driving around and around all night.

By dawn Wilf’s pacemaker and scooter batteries both needed recharging – which resulted in scavenging shitehawks pecking at his corpse for days in a lay-by until the local council’s highways department operatives body-bagged his remains and took it to a landfill site to be ritually buried by bull dozer.

Conversely the ‘driving competency’ theme has already been put into practice by Great Yarmouth Police on a voluntary basis to instruct brain-dead wrinklies how to handle their speed machines.

The impetus was generated by the volume of complaints about accidents being caused by geriatrics around the UK’s retirement central – where the average age of the population is 85 and the town carries the derisive sobriquet of Oldieville

PC Fellattia Gobbler conducted media hacks on a tour of the police’s mobility scooter training centre, recently established recently established at the spacious One Foot in the Grave Retirement Home.
“Our purpose is to advise oldies that if they’re totally blind or suffer chronic Alzheimer’s and don’t know where they’re going – or how to get home again - they shouldn’t really drive a mobility scooter.” ”The aim is to foster safe driving and pavement etiquette.”

“Here we have a line of unemployed hoodies and other assorted yobs serving out their community service orders - with two metres in between each of them – which marks out the slalom course the old dears have to weave their vehicles through.”

“This is meant to be representative of how stupid pedestrian shoppers stand in awkward places on the High Street - pissing about with cell phones. Plus we have other hazards which include roadwork signs, pot holes, hedgehogs and badgers, and speed bumps."

"Have you ever driven one of these before?" PC Fellattia asks the 93-year old Hilda Slagg.
"No," Hilda candidly replies, with a wink of her glass eye, then adjusting her hearing aid and goggles. "This is me first time. So what do yer press ter make it go fast?"

Moments later, as her scooter tears off to the screech of smoking tyres, there is a crunch of breaking bone and a series of howls and scream as Hilda’s nearside back wheel runs over one yob’s Doc Marten boots and she proceeds to scatter the remainder of the slalom file like tenpin skittles.

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