By Martin Graham
A SCOTS council has been forced to issue safety notices to OAPs because of the number of incidents involving mobility scooters.
East Lothian Council acted to put the brakes on the motorised pensioners with a leaflet warning about safety on the pavements.
But two more OAPs have already come a cropper this month alone, leading other safety groups to issue a call for better driving.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has now urged OAPs using the scooters to brush up on the Highway Code.
The most recent incidents took place in Musselburgh only days apart, leading to two elderly men being taken to hospital for treatment.
Broderick Robertson, 86, crashed his scooter near Musselburgh bus station on July 3 after a mini-jam of scooters on the pavement.
He had gentlemanly paused to let another female scooter user pass in front of him.
But when he moved off his scooter tumbled into a four-foot deep hole which had been dug in the pavement.
He ended up with the scooter lying on top of him and had to be rescued by police and an ambulance crew.
The OAP was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and treated for bruises and cuts and a bruised leg.
He said: “I was on my way to Tesco to do a shop when I came across the roadworks outside the bus station.
“I tried to go across but saw a lady in a scooter coming the other way.
“I tried to move over and let her pass, but the next thing I knew I had fallen in.
“My scooter then landed on top of me which really hurt my leg.
“I think I just got too near the edge, but I got a real fright.
“The protection for the public is not very good and I don’t want this to happen to anyone else because next time there could be a serious injury.
“I’m not one for claiming or anything like that, but I do think people should be warned to be careful around there.
“I’d like to thank everyone who helped me.”
In a separate incident, another elderly man driving a motorised scooter crashed into a hole on Pinkie Road, Musselburgh, at 10.15am on Thursday 8 July.
He suffered cuts and bruises and was also taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary for treatment.
In response to the soaring numbers of scooters on the streets, East Lothian Council issued a guidance booklet for scooter users late last year advising on various aspects of scooter ownership.
A spokesperson said: “East Lothian Council would appeal to pedestrians and mobility scooter users to take extra care when negotiating works on the county’s pavements and roads.”
East Lothian Council have confirmed that all roadworks are inspected to make sure the barriers and signs are sufficient.
The spokesperson said: “The council, as the roads authority, grant permits for roadworks to contractors, and adequate signs and barriers are part of the arrangement.
“We hold pre-meetings to ensure that health and safety standards are met at each site.
“We are working with the contractors at the accident sites to make sure the signs and barriers are sufficient.”
A spokesperson from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said that it was down to scooter users to play safe too – and warned they should brush up on the Highway Code.
They said: “We recognise the importance of mobility scooters for older people and those with disabilities.
“We advise scooter users to familiarise themselves with the Highway Code, which now has a whole section on mobility scooters.
“Good observation is crucial for all road users.
“We advise scooter users to take care and watch out for themselves and others.
“We encourage good training for scooter users at the time of purchase, and a thorough assessment of needs to make sure the scooter meets the needs of the buyer.”
Age Concern said part of the problem could be down to routes becoming routine for scooter drivers going to the same places all the time.
Spokeswoman Lindsay Scott from said: “People don’t use mobility scooters to explore the world, they tend to use the same routes every day.
“They may become complacent.
“We would urge scooter users to keep their wits about them and don’t expect all hazards to be signposted on their usual routes.”