Hole lot of pain

Published: 15 Jul 2010 09:302 comments

DISABLED pedestrians are being warned to be vigilant after two OAPs on motorised scooters plunged into large holes left by roadworks. . . in separate incidents in the same town just days apart.

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The first accident happened on Saturday, July 3, outside Musselburgh bus station when 86-year-old Broderick Robertson toppled head first into a four-foot hole as he politely tried to allow a female scooter user to pass him.

Unfortunately, the pensioner misjudged the width of the dug-up pavement and ended up in the hole with his scooter lying on top of him.

The second incident occurred on the town's Pinkie Road at about 10.15am last Thursday.

Again, an elderly male disabled scooter user was navigating road works when he crashed down into a gaping hole close to Grandison's Garage.

Both men suffered cuts and bruises and were taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary for treatment.

Age Scotland, East Lothian Council and Musselburgh and Inveresk Community Council (MICC) have all now issued a warning to the county's motorised scooter users to be careful when attempting to pass roadworks in the town.

Mr Robertson, of the town's New Street, was heading towards Tesco to do his week's shopping when he tried to negotiate the extensive roadworks between the supermarket and the bus station on Mall Avenue.

Mr Robertson dropped into a hole head-first after he tried to let a fremale scooter user pass by.

He was rescued by police and an ambulance crew and taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary for a check up. Fortunately, the 86-year-old was only left with a bruised leg and cuts and bruises following his harrowing plunge.

Mr Robertson said: "I was on my way to Tesco to do a shop when I came across the roadworks outside the bus station. I tried to go across the covering on the hole but saw a lady in a scooter coming the other way. I tried to move over and let her pass, but the next thing I knew I had fallen in. My scooter then landed on top of me which really hurt my leg. I think I just got too near the edge, but I got a real fright.

"The protection for the public is not very good and I don't want this to happen to anyone else because next time there could be a serious injury. I'm not one for claiming or anything like that, but I do think people should be warned to be careful around there. I'd like to thank everyone who helped me."

MICC's Alan Hay said: "These incidents are really terrible, my thoughts go out to the two gentlemen involved.

"But, there are extensive roadworks being carried out in the town and it is important to be vigilant when approaching them. I think it would be a good idea to have somebody actually employed to make sure pedestrians are kept safe when crossing roadworks, especially the elderly and the disabled.

"Following these incidents, it might also be wise to re-evaluate the fencing and signage around these works."

A spokesperson for Age Scotland has asked users of the motorised scooters to "be vigilant" when approaching roadworks.

The spokesperson added: "Usually, users of mobility scooters use the same route so when obstacles are placed in their way it can become very hazardous for them. The works are not always well signed and I would ask scooter users to be vigilant when near to roadworks. It is important for them to look out for all the hazards on the road and the pavement."

And a spokesperson for East Lothian Council added: "The works currently being carried out at Mall Avenue are the responsibility of Barr Construction. East Lothian Council will be sending out an inspector to review the barriers and signage at the site later this week.

"The roadworks at Pinkie Road are being carried out by the local authority and as we are still awaiting the police report on the incident it would be unfair to comment on the situation until it has been received.

"In the meantime, East Lothian Council would appeal to pedestrians and mobility scooter users to take extra care when negotiating works on the county's pavements and roads."

The ambulance service confirmed both men were treated at the scene for cuts and bruises and both were subsequently transferred to Edinburgh's Royal Infirmary as a precautionary measure.

Barr Construction did not return the Courier's calls.

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