POLICE in Benidorm have launched a crackdown on tourists renting mobility scooters and issuing fines of up to €500 after it emerged many of them are improperly claiming to be disabled in order to hire them.
The Olive Press delved into the issue as authorities in the popular Costa Blanca resort intensified checks on the hire of the mobility scooters and began issuing penalties to those found to be improperly using them.
The vehicles have become a popular means to get around the resort and are no longer the reserve of those who find it difficult to walk.
Infact, holidaymakers are lying to scooter rental companies in order to bypass rules.
“The Brits often lie to our company as they do not meet the requirements to get a scooter,” admitted a whistleblower from a rental scooter company in Benidorm to the Olive Press.
She said that young people often claim that they are hiring a mobility scooter for a disabled parent, but when the company staff follow it up, they find there is no such person.
“Most of them are young Brits that want to use it to go clubbing to save the money of the taxi,” revealed Tania Costa, who works at Amigo 24 Mobility Scooter Hire in Benidorm.
She said ‘80% of the people who rent our scooters are from the UK’ and estimated that around half of them do meet the requirements for a mobility scooter.
According to Benidorm bylaws, only those aged over 55 or with a disability problem are entitled to drive a mobility scooter.
“We have a lot of cases of people who cannot prove that they have a disability but they insist that they cannot walk,” claimed Tania.
“Others rent the scooter then give it to other members in their group to drive, which is also against the local law,” said David, the owner of the company.
Benidorm council have launched a crackdown following complaints about scooter users driving irresponsibly on the pavements and in bike lines.
“The majority of the drivers do not respect the maximum speed and it is really dangerous because it can cause accidents,” a spokesperson from Benidorm council told the Olive Press.
Benidorm’s council confirmed that so far this summer two people have been fined for not meeting the requirements to use a mobility scooter.