MOBILITY scooter users should be offered road safety training because of the risk of collisions with pedestrians and cars, according to Barrow’s mayor.

Cllr Kevin Hamilton said increasing numbers of people relied on them to get around.

“I know having a motor scooter is a lifeline for disabled people,” said Cllr Hamilton, chairman of Barrow Local Committee.

“But they are not insured, they don’t do any training and there’s more of them,” he told representatives of Cumbria Road Safety Partnership at a meeting.

Cllr Hamilton, the Labour member for Risedale, suggested that more help be offered to local disability groups to provide safety training.

However, CRSP said its prevention work had to be based on accident statistics and the figures did not suggest a major accident risk with motor scooters, said Chris Broadbent, road safety co-ordinator for the county council.

Training is provided to those who source scooters from Shopmobility, but it was ‘limited,’ according to Cllr Derek Gawne.

Others could buy scooters from elsewhere and ‘do whatever they want,’ said Cllr Gawne, who represents Roosecote for the Conservatives.

Pc Kevin Jackson, of Cumbria Police, said there was a spate of four motor scooter accidents in the county many years ago leading to two fatalities.

At the time, the coroner wrote to the Department for Transport calling for the Government to consider a licensing system for them, he said.

“Nothing has ever come from it,” added Pc Jackson.

“The problem you would have with a licensing system is that the person would have to take a medical. The whole point of a mobility scooter is it gives mobility to people who are less able to get around than the general public, so I understand why it did not really progress."

Mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs do not require a licence, but they do have to be registered.

Only certain categories can be driven on the road – a ‘class three’ mobility scooter which has a top road speed of 8mph or 4mph off-road. Class two’s cannot be used on roads unless there is not a pavement. Those have a top speed of 4mph.

Honorary chief executive of the Barrow District and Disability Association Margaret Burrow, said: “I think it’s a good idea to give training to users of mobility scooters.

“If used incorrectly, there can be accidents so I believe full training would be very beneficial. If users are in any doubt, they can visit the BDDA centre for advice and support.”