A Lichfield councillor has admitted she “stirred a hornet’s nest” on the issue of mobility scooters – but says she is glad the issue was put up for discussion.
Cllr Doris English (Cons, St John’s) was critical of the conduct of some scooter users and the fact that many did not have insurance.
And she also revealed that she herself had been the victim of a mobility scooter hit-and-run incident.
Although her comments provoked criticism from some quarters, Cllr English believes it was right to raise the issue. She explained:
“I did stir a hornet’s nest regarding scooters and insurance. I am just glad it stirred interest and discussion.
“As Chairman of the Disability Partnership Panel it is my duty to bring matters such as this to the attention of the public. We all have our own opinion, however those who attend the panel bring these matter to the panel for discussion.”
A commenter on Cllr English’s blog was among those criticising her views.
Mr R A Hodgkiss wrote on the site:
“People on mobility scooters pose no more threat to pedestrians than teenagers and adults riding their bikes on public pavements or mothers pushing buggies around town.
“Aren’t people that use these scooters and wheelchairs because of disability penalised enough by an uncaring council that forces us to use totally inadequate pavements, uneven, steep slopes, and many without deep enough lowered kerbsides to enable us to pass safely from one side of the road to the other?
“Cllr English should also be aware that many mobility scooter users are only on low benefits such as incapacity benefit and the extra cost of insurance would be a financial burden which many could not afford.”
But Cllr English hit back at the criticism, claiming she had also received emails supporting her point of view.
“We have improved our services to residents with disabilities through matters brought to the attention of the panel. As an able bodied person it is not for me to say what they need – they tell me and I encourage the council to address problems brought to the panel.
“Agree or disagree I know we are helping those who in some cases cannot help themselves.”