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Not enough wall sockets to charge all the scooters!
Ever since Madge, the chain smoking matriarch of the Garvey clan hit our screens on the ITV series Benidorm, rentals of mobilty scooters have gone through the roof in the resort. She was always depicted permanently sitting in her mobility scooter, generally whizzing around the pool area of the fictional Solana resort (which is actually the Sol Pelicanos hotel).

 Step onto the streets of Benidorm and you are never more than 10 metres away from a scooter - you will see them double parked outside bars and cafes, often obstructing the pavement for pedestrians. In fact, it has become such an issue that many hotels are now forced to charge a daily rate for recharging your scooter due to the volume of them. Enter the lobby of any of the hotels and you will see dozens parked up. And the situation will probably get worse with the increase in petrol prices.

Many residents are trading in their cars and exchanging them for a mobility scooter as there is no road tax or insurance to pay... potentially saving hundreds of euro's per year. At least you would imagine that car drivers have some wits about them, but currently mobility scooter users require NO training or insurance meaning that anyone can hire one.

Common site in Benidorm - a mobility conga
It has become such an issue in the UK that many councils are now offering crash courses in how to drive them and the associated risks. South Yorkshire police are so concerned about accidents that they are offering free training lessons! A spokesman for the force said that in the last 5 years 28 incidents involving mobility scooters were reported - 17 of which resulted in people being killed or injured, but they know that many further cases go unreported.

An average scooter weighs between 44-50kg and can reach a top speed of  between 8-10mph, so imagine being mowed down by one. But its not only injuries caused to passerby's - last year a 79 year old man in Cornwall was killed when his mobility scooter overturned and pinned him against a wall.  With an increasing aging population, action needs to be taken to ensure that standards with regard to health and safety and basic training  are undertaken.

Madge upon her chariot
But not one to shun her responsibilities for the craze that she created, actress Sheila Reid - who played Madge in the series, will be giving tips to Norfolk residents at a course being run on 24th April in Kings Lynn by PACT. Those attending will have the opportunity to tackle slopes and crossings on a specially designed course at The Corn Exchange and to take part in a road safety quiz. Many people would agree that some sort of proficiency test should be made compulsory before being let loose on one and that taking out a third party insurance policy would also be a good idea.

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