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Sainsbury’s ban mobility scooter user.

2015-04-01

By Jason Tate

The banning of a mobility scooter user from a branch of Sainsbury’s has once again highlighted the need for owners to be aware of the risk of using the vehicles and acquaint themselves with some basic safety advice.

Alber Carter, 80, from Newcastle-under-Lyme, has been told he must not attempt to enter any of the Sainsbury’s 1,200 shops around the UK and warned that staff will call the police if he is seen inside one of them. Mr Carter, who has used a mobility scooter for more than a decade and accidentally had a collision with another shopper while in the store.

The pensioner said that he had just paid for a packet of cigarettes at the customer services desk and turned his scooter around to leave the store. As he turned, he accidentally drove the scooter into a woman standing behind him. Mr Carter said that he then panicked and reversed into the customer services desk.

He said: “It was my fault. I take the blame completely. After I paid at the front kiosk I turned to leave and then don't know how it happened. I didn't do it on purpose but it was that quick I'm not sure how I hit the women. I was really upset that I hurt someone.”

He told reporters after the incident: “I understand that they might be concerned abut me coming into the shop after what happened, but I have never had an accident on it before so why would they ban me forever?” Mr Carter added that he had been informed by the supermarket that should he enter any one of its stores around Britain he would be classed as a trespasser and the police called. He claimed that he has been too frightened to leave home since the incident.

A spokesman for Sainsbury’s confirmed that Mr Carter had been banned from all of its shops, adding: “Our teams in store have a duty to consider the safety of all our customers and this decisions was reached after reviewing CCTV footage and other reports.

“We will, of course, be happy to discuss this further with Mr Carter and his family, to ensure that we maintain a safe shopping environment for everyone.”

The accident and subsequent ban has highlighted the safety issues of driving mobility scooters on private property owned by another person or company. It is legal to use them in most supermarkets which have been built with wide enough aisles to accommodate them and where a lot of shops have a number of scooters to lend out to shoppers who may have difficulty using the store.

The speed limit for any type of mobility scooter or powered wheelchair in a store is the same as the maximum allowed on pavements – 4mph – and users must ensure that they are using their vehicle safely and giving priority to pedestrians.

Mr Carter’s accident is one of a number in supermarkets in recent months. In October, a lorry driver received concussion and a broken arm when he was knocked down by a mobility scooter user in Tesco. The mobility scooter driver then fled after the collision.

Then in December, Eileen Hayes, 82, received a broken leg and had to have surgery on her hip when she was knocked down by a mobility scooter in a branch of Asda. The scooter had been loaned out by the shop. After having to spend four weeks in hospital and now limping, Mrs Hayes is suing Asda for her injuries.

Failing to drive a mobility scooter with sufficient care and attention can result in serious consequences for users. An employee of a store was awarded £6,000 in compensation in 2013 after a scooter user accidentally collided with a trolley which then hit the staff member and hurt her knee. As well as having to pay the compensation, the scooter user also had to pay £7,000 in legal costs and said that she was going to have to put her house on the market to pay the bills.


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