Tuesday 14 July 2020

Mobility scooters need urgent improvements, say road safety researchers

Senior woman at the seaside on mobility scooter

Mobility scooters used by thousands of elderly and immobile people in the Netherlands are not safe enough and need urgent action to meet tougher standards, according to road safety researchers.

Dozens of people are killed every year in accidents involving mobility scooters. In total 38 mobility scooter users were killed in 2016 and 1,600 were taken to hospital after accidents.

The road safety scientific research foundation (SWOV) has now researched 35 serious accidents involving the electric scooters.  It found that users who find themselves in dangerous situations tend to put pressure on the accelerator rather than let it go when they need to brake.

The technology is similar to that used by the electric wagons used to transport children, known as the Stint. Stints have been banned from the Dutch roads pending safety checks after a fatal accident at a level crossing.

The braking system is not the only problem with the scooters, the SWOV says. The scooters are not stable enough and are liable to tip on uneven roads or when they hit an obstacle.

It also recommends bike lanes are made wider, and without raised edges, to lessen the risk of accidents.

Safe

Transport minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen said in a reaction to the report that all mobility scooter users should be able to trust that their vehicles are safe.

She said she is now in talks with manufacturers about the SWOV recommendations.

Television consumers show Kassa reported last month that one reason so many mobility scooter users are killed may be due to the braking system.

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