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Mobility scooter drivers taking "life in their hands"
1:18pm Tuesday 19th March 2013 in News
ELDERLY people from St Leonards are “taking their lives into their hands” when they go out on their mobility scooters, councillors fear.
Oaktree Park residents who use the scooters are finding it almost impossible to get onto pavements next to the A31 because of the height of the kerbs.
County councillor Peter Richardson has now launched an initiative to get dropped kerbs properly installed onto footways next to the busy trunk road.
However, despite acknowledging the problem, the Highways Agency has said that work to remedy the dangerous situation has to be part of a four-year programme.
Jim Crow, treasurer of the Oaktree Residents’ Association and a parish councillor, said: “Our county councillor has realised the gravity of the concern about dropped kerbs, and is now helping us take this fight forward.
“Many of our residents are of a senior age, and as they get older some have to give up their cars and buy mobility scooters to get around on instead.”
He said he has seen two residents on scooters toppling over after trying to get onto the pavement.
“They are taking their life in their hands,” he said.
“It’s tying older people to their homes because they can’t get out to go anywhere.”
Cllr Crow said there is only one dropped kerb along the stretch, outside St Leonards Community Hospital, which was put in place quickly by the NHS after he registered his concerns.
“It’s a very dangerous situation,” he said.
“It is a 50 mile per hour road, but I defy anyone to say they’re going down there at that speed. It’s just far too fast.”
Cllr Richardson said he wants the work to be carried out as a matter of urgency, and he is now in contact with Dorset County Council’s highways department to ask for their assistance.
He said: “I firmly believe all residents at Oaktree Park Homes must have this dropped kerb issue resolved quickly, as a matter of emergency, before a tragic incident occurs from poor road and footway design that has existed for too long.
“I am very concerned for their safety when faced with poor, uneven surfaces and consequential danger, as users travel on the footway against the traffic flow of the A31 to reach their destination.
One just has to see the road users attempting their journeys to appreciate this.”