When you hear about people complaining about Scooters we all imagine teenagers and youths riding around fields on Scooters and Mopeds, we all knew someone who borrowed their Mums or Dads Moped or Scooter while they were at work and rode it around the streets and even fields, the good old days. The last thing you would expect is drunks on mobility Scooters.
Town Hall chiefs in Benidorm are cracking down on the use of mobility scooters after complaints they are being misused by stag weekend drinkers. Local council officials are set to introduce new regulations limiting their use to the over 55s and the disabled.
The scooters became popular after TV show Benidorm featured colourful character Madge using one.
Around 500 people a day, mostly Brits now use them to get around the Costa Blanca town. Many have genuine mobility problems but locals say it is common to see groups of people in fancy dress on stag weekends careering around the resort.
Resort radio host Dave Rowland said: “I know of at least two occasions where people have driven straight through fixed glass panels while they were drunk, thinking in their impaired state that they were automatic doors. There have also been times when people have got stuck on the beach on their Scooter.”
Now new bylaws set to be introduced next month will require holidaymakers to present a disability certificate or doctor’s note if they are aged under 55 and want to rent a mobility scooter, and scooters will have to be registered with the local council and carry an inscription number identifying the rental firm and client.
Drink drive and speeding fines linked to their misuse are also expected to be introduced, with penalties for rental firms where holidaymakers fail to pay.
Bar owner Stuart Payne said: “The TV series didn’t help. It turned the scooters into a craze among Brit tourists. I just hope the idiots that use them for fun never need them.”
Tourist Janet Larkin, from Southampton, said: “I come here every year on holiday and you have to be careful you don’t get run over when you’re coming out of shops. The hotel we stay in is like a racetrack sometimes. The parents go out for the day and leave the kids to have fun with the scooters.”
Rentals start at around £33 a week. Some even rent per day for around £6. Hire shop owners have seen business soar since comedy show Benidorm first hit TV screens.
The craze has been dubbed Madge mania after the perky pensioner who uses a mobility scooter. Dancer Karen Ravenscroft, 36, from Morecambe, Lancashire, said: “Madge is quite representative of some of the old dears you see around. They whizz down in their mobility scooters, park up outside the bar and then go dancing all night.”
The sixth series of Benidorm – filmed between March and June 2013 – will feature seven episodes that will air from January 2014. A Benidorm Council spokesman said: “There are definitely more mobility scooters on the streets because of the TV show. We want to make sure they are used responsibly and for legitimate reasons. This has not always been the case.”