From my stationary position in the window of Esquires Cafe in Horsham whilst checking off items from the todo list of my clients I have the opportunity to watch the world go by. Mostly I watch pedestrians move from Sainsbury’s to West Street and more occasionally diverting across the Forum towards the library.
All seems rather quaint, tranquil, market town and picturesque until the arrival of the mobility maniacs. I watch children suddenly pulled to safety or groups in discussion forced to dance and leap away from the path of the oncoming equivalent of mobility Mad Max. This is not to suggest that every owner of a mobility scooter is a high speed hellion bent on shin-bound destruction though we do appear to see a pattern on the streets. A brief discussion on Horsham’s Facebook page exposes that the issue is a consistent experience for many pedestrians in the town centre especially through Swan Walk. Additionally there was some frustration voiced by owners of scooters who are equally annoyed at the bad behaviour of a few which impacts upon their freedoms. No one is going to suggest we ban mobility scooters from the town and I suspect no councillor or politician would want to open the topic for debate. As I am sure they consider it the political third rail. Take a step back from the discussion. In place of saying mobility scooters operated at sensible speed and with awareness of pedestrians are acceptable, you say the word bicycles. Granted the scooter provides mobility something not absolutely essential in regards to the bike but that is not the issue in this public dispensation. Mobility scooters are a recent introduction to our high streets and they are proliferating. Where the general public might feel it acceptable to verbally abuse cyclists who are safely moving down the street they would never actively stop and abuse the owner of a scooter who is speeding down West Street or across the Forum. One more question then, with all the CCTV in place for our comfort and security surely I, the lone cafe observer, am not alone in witnessing these mobility mario karters. There must be plenty of video footage available to identify those who abuse the freedom that others enjoy? As usual I guess we must wait for the serious accident to occur before political expediency feels any relevance towards those mean streets of Horsham.