Waveney MP in slow lane for scooter event
WAVENEY MP Peter Aldous inched his way round obstacle cones as part of a mobility scooter safety event in Lowestoft.
The MP was opening the Lowestoft ScootSafe event designed to raise awareness of the difficulites facing mobility scooter users and offer guidance on proper usage, on Friday 16 September.
He was joined by local disability help organisations as well as the mayor of Lowestoft, Tod Sullivan, and Suffolk police.
Mr Aldous praised the organisations involved before declaring it open and saying that it was time to 'with a sense of trepidation, start the course.'
Along with members of the public and scooter users he weaved round the cones, before tackling a tricky reverse parking space at the end of the course, and finally pushing on to the final and most daunting part of the course, the home stretch which involved joining the main flow of people traffic walking past the busy shops in the town centre, navigating his way through and back to the watching crowd.
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Mr Aldous said: 'I'm sure you see I was a little bit slow, and as soon as I was out of the course into the real wild world I saw how hazardous it can be. This very much brought it home for me.
'I found you had to have your wits about you. You get so used to being a pedestrian and when you put yourself in the position of someone who doesn't have that mobility, you realise that you have to have different skills about you, you need to be alert.
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'I think that some people do get intolerant of people in mobility scooters, and when you are in the mobility scooter you see it from a different perspective.'
Waveney Council agreed to support the Lowestoft's ScootSafe event after a request by the Waveney Disability Forum, which is made up of people with disabilities and provides a collective voice on disability issues.
Members of the forum at the event said it was about awareness both ways, and that pedestrians needed to have an understanding of the difficulties scooter users faced but that scooter users needed to be safer also.
Margaret Oldham is chairman of DIAL (Disablement Information and Advice Line) and is a mobility scooter user. She said: 'I was very concerned about the way some people drive in the shopping centre. Before long somebody was going to get injured or killed.
'It's about driving safely and knowing that you shouldn't carry lots of shopping on your scooter or carry your grandchildren or your pets, because some people do.'
Lowestoft Shopmobility were on hand to offer a free maintenance check to people's scooters.