A CORONER has called for tougher rules to regulate mobility scooters after hearing that an 88-year-old man died when he rode into the path of an oncoming bus.
Margaret Jones, deputy coroner for South Staffordshire, spoke during the inquest into the death of James Grindlay, who was killed in Princess Way, Stretton, last year.
The pensioner suffered multiple injuries — including a fractured chest bone, broken ribs and deep cuts to his head — when he used a pedestrian crossing without checking the road was clear or pressing the button to change the traffic lights.
Mrs Jones said: “The use of mobility scooters has become more and more of a general concern. I am seeing so many accidents involving these now.
“There is currently a Government consultation going on as to whether their use should be more regulated.
“They are a means of independence for people who would otherwise be very immobile, but control of them is something that needs to be pressed forward.”
The inquest heard Mr Grindlay, a retired psychiatric nurse living in Almond Close, Stretton, died in hospital two hours after the crash at 12.30pm on June 23.
The father-of-three survived a brain haemorrhage and between 20 and 25 heart attacks, strokes and angina attacks during his life.
Keith Bradley, who was driving the Trent Barton bus from Burton to Derby, told the hearing: “I saw this person on a mobility scooter going along the pavement.
“I must have blinked because the next minute he was at the pedestrian crossing and – bang – he went straight in front of me.”
Derek Bailey, who witnessed the accident from the window of his home in nearby Barley Close, said: “When he (Mr Grindlay) got to the pedestrian crossing, he just did a right turn, didn’t look and he just disappeared in front of a bus. He gave no indication he intended to turn right.”
Heartfelt tributes were paid following Mr Grindlay’s death by his daughter, Julie Cooper, who told the Mail her father rode his scooter into Burton every day. He was hit by the bus as it drove from Burton into Stretton, near to the Co-op store in Princess Way.
Staffordshire Police crash investigator Police Constable Roger Wetton said: “The scooter turned right into the carriageway and continued into the path of the oncoming bus. The driver reacted by moving the bus and braking.
“The rider did not appear to stop and check whether vehicles were travelling behind him before turning into the carriageway or make any attempt to operate the crossing buttons.”
Mr Grindlay was flown by helicopter to hospital in Stoke-on-Trent but died soon after arrival.
The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death, saying: “This happened quite literally within a matter of seconds, affording the bus driver no opportunity of avoiding the collision.”
Mrs Jones said she would write to the Department for Transport to suggest ways of making mobility scooters safer.
She said her suggestions would include making high-visibility jackets and training compulsory for riders and forcing them to buy insurance like car owners.