Man, 92, Rides Mobility Scooter On 70mph Road

On Friday 11th March, Sussex police were alerted by a concerned motorist that there was an elderly man riding a mobility scooter down the carriageway of the A2011 near Crawley. The motorist flagged down a police car at around 12.45 pm to report the OAP and said that he was very concerned for his safety.

The 92-year-old pensioner found himself on the busy 70mph dual carriageway after taking a wrong turn. Passing motorists spotted the elderly gentleman, and it wasn’t long before a concerned driver alerted the police.

PC Katie Breeds responded to the call for help, and said the pensioner was found in a ‘very confused’ state. PC Breeds said: “He was very confused and really didn’t know where he was. We sat him in the back of our police car and waited for a colleague in a van to collect the mobility scooter. Then we delivered the scooter and driver back home to his warden-assisted accommodation in Crawley.”

PC Breeds also commented: “It’s a bust 70mph dual carriageway and we are grateful to the motorist for stopping. We caught up with the man heading away from the M23 in the A2011 Crawley Avenue.”

Safely back at home, the elderly gentleman is now recovering from his ordeal.

Rules for mobility scooters

In the UK, you do not need a driving licence to drive a mobility scooter or powered wheelchair, but you may have to register it. There are two categories of mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs, and only certain types can be driven on the road.

There are Class 2 and Class 3 invalid carriages, and only Class 3 are allowed to drive on the road. Class 2 invalid carriages can only be ridden on pavements, except for where there isn’t a pavement, such as a country lane for example. Class 2 vehicles have a maximum speed of 4mph. Class 3 vehicles have a maximum speed of 4mph off the road, and 8mph on the road. Class 3 invalid carriages must be registered, but you do not need to register a class 2 invalid carriage.

To drive a mobility scooter you must be over the age of 14 years.

You risk being stopped by the police if your Class 3 invalid carriage doesn’t have the following features:

• a maximum unladen weight of 150kg
• a maximum width of 0.85 metres
• a device to limit its speed to 4mph
• a maximum speed of 8mph
• an efficient braking system
• front and rear lights and reflectors
• direction indicators able to operate as a hazard warning signal
• an audible horn
• a rear view mirror
• an amber flashing light if it’s used on a dual carriageway

Class 3 vehicles are not allowed to drive on bus lanes, motorways or cycle only lanes. It is also recommended that drivers avoid using dual carriageways that have a speed limit of over 50mph.

Champion Wheelchair Fencer now training for Rio Olympics

Ranked as world number one in wheelchair fencing, Piers Gilliver from Gloucestershire has now set his sights on scoring gold in the Paralympic games to be held in Rio de Janeiro this year.

Piers, aged 21, can be regularly found training for his sport through the Cotswold’s Fencing Club in Churchdown and at the Innsworth Community Hall. After taking up fencing as a hobby in 2010, his love of the sport was truly sparked off as a result of watching the fencing at the 2012 London Olympics, and he had since dreamed of going up against the top-ranked fencers he saw at the games.

In the four years since the London Olympics, Piers trained long and hard to learn the sport inside out, and strived to reach his goal of becoming the best. He has certainly come along way from simply fantacising about taking part in the Olympics to actually go ahead to target a gold medal at the next Olympic games.

In an interview with local press, Piers said, “It is just bizarre to think that I am now world number one.”

However, his dreams of attending the games in Rio all hang on his place being confirmed. The Olympic qualification period ends in May, but as Piers is ranked as world number one in the sport, it is thought to be more than likely he will win his place and be attending.

Piers, from Drybrook, has been focused on his training at the Innsworth Community Hall for the next Olympics for the last five months. He told the press: “Gloucester has been brilliant for me; it has really helped my development as a fencer. I think it really important to keep these local connections.”

Despite being wheelchair bound since the age of 11 due to a neuromuscular disorder, Piers has managed to overcome all challenges thrown at him, and has progressed from a novice fencer to world number one in just six short years.

Talking about how he first got started in the sport, he said: “I had always been interested in it as a sport but I started just by chance in Churchdown.” Piers was trained by Kevin Nelson at the Churchdown club, who himself had to take a training course to learn how to train wheelchair fencing. Piers went on to take part in his first ever international event in July 2012.

To achieve world number one ranking is an amazing achievement, and his mother couldn’t be more proud of her son. Jo Gilliver, mother of Piers, told the press: “It is fantastic for me to see my son doing so well. For him to be the world number one is a just the result of a lot of hard work that he has put in, I am so proud.”

We shall all have to keep an eye out for Piers when he goes for gold in Rio this summer! We would like to wish him all the luck in the world. You can follow Piers on twitter

Driverless Vehicles will Redefine Mobility Needs

We have already seen the remarkable stride forward in driver-less vehicles with the invention of the iconic Google driver-less car, so we can all pretty much expect to see our roads transformed over the next 50 years where driver-less technology will probably take over city taxi services. We already have driver-less trains in some part of the world, and plans are going ahead to have these on the underground in London very soon, so it will only be a matter of time before it will be commonplace on our roads too.

With the growth in popularity of electric cars and the improvements in battery storage, we can predict that automating some driving tasks, such as short journeys around a set route within a city, then re-charging back at a central base, could become a possibility sooner than we think. So what does this mean to the many thousands of disabled and elderly mobility scooter users of the future? Will they no longer need to steer their own mobility scooters, or will there be no need for scooters at all if we become a nation of passengers in driver-less cars?

The freedom that a driver-less car would give to any individual is fantastic. Not having to drive a vehicle yourself, or having the need to rely on a human driver to get you from A to B will very freeing for a lot of people. This could mean an end to parking problems for drivers needing to leave their cars while they work, shop or visit places. If roads were networked with driver-less vehicles, it could be as simple as hopping into a vacant car sitting at a taxi-rank, or we may even have the capability to hail an empty car down on the street as we do now with human drivers.

We may well be able to use an app on our phones to summon a car to come directly to our home to pick us up at a time that is convenient to us. This would be an ideal solution for disabled people who still want the freedom to come and go as they please without having to rely on anyone else, or for the elderly who find it a struggle to drive by themselves any more.

Upon arrival at your chosen destination, you could simply leave the vehicle allowing it to return to base, or to be sent to pick up another customer. One would assume that driver-less vehicle manufacturers would have a range of specially adapted cars suitable for use by disabled passengers, or those with limited mobility. It would certainly be a convenient way of travelling around a city, and may even be more cost-effective to passengers because they wouldn’t need to have paid for their own cars only to have them sitting idle at home or work for hours a day. It may even make city streets less congested because there could be less cars on the road as a result.

The introduction of driver-less technology may also mean that our streets become safer. Automating journeys will take away human error, so the risk of accidents caused by drunk drivers, those under the influence of drugs, and over-tired drivers will be totally eliminated. Speed limits will be adhered to because there will be no option to speed, and the ‘boy-racer’ mentality could become a thing of the past.

The costs per journey would be purely based on distance travelled, and as everyone would presumably pay the same going rate, there shouldn’t be a need for different levels of fares like we see on the trains of today for example. There may well still be the option to drive, and there will always be people who prefer to drive simply for the pleasure of it. Plus of course it would be impractical for motorbikes to be driver-less. However, if car insurance premiums were to rise to high levels because driving would be seen as the more risky option, then this could encourage even more people to give up driving in favour of the driver-less option.

The next 50 years is going to be an interesting time for motorist, and while we can see urban cities and large towns benefiting from driver-less technology years before smaller towns and villages in the countryside, one would imagine that eventually all UK roads would become adaptable for use by driver-less cars.