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Thursday, 16 August 2012

Three dangers in the shopping mall

On a recent visit to a very large shopping mall, it doesn't matter which one because I'm sure my experience is mirrored throughout the many such retail kingdoms, I quickly became aware of a new risk to my personal physical safety from shoppers sharing the same floor space as me.

Having driven along the roads between the safety of my home and the vehicle free retail extravaganza; the twisting and turning single lane country lanes bounded by high hedges that allow only tunnel vision of the road ahead and oncoming motorists; the multi-lane motorway, including the major motorway interchange, with diverging and then converging lanes full of speeding vehicles; and left my car in the free car-park I was feeling safe and secure heading towards the pedestrian only walkways.

Within a short time of entering the supposedly shopper friendly environment I became aware of the reality of the level of physical danger possible from three types of shoppers.

After only fifteen minutes I was subjected to two side glancing strong nudges and one head-on collision. Only the lack of approaching speed saving me from injury. No apologies from the protagonists. Whilst not being personally responsible as the cause for the contacts, looking back I'm annoyed that I didn't see the potential danger coming towards me. My excuse, if I need one, is that of my lack of experience of the mobile telephone aficionado texting, tweeting, or internet surfing, whilst on the move. With head down looking at the illuminated screen, blinded by the glare from seeing the hazards ahead, the telephonist must be assuming that other shoppers, me on this occasion, will have to move aside for safety. The ignorance, inconsideration and rudeness of these geeks!

Previous to this retail excursion I've had pride in my ability to avoid the other two major dangers; the senior racers on their mobility scooters; parents with their crowd breaking pushchairs; in pedestrian areas.

There are more and more untrained, uninsured drivers sitting on their latest deluxe model electric powered chariots; larger and speedier; driving them silently amongst the unsuspecting walking public. Whilst not on this day, I have seen a scooter user recklessly drive into the back of the legs of a lady who was totally unaware of the presence of the scooter bearing down on her from behind. They start to move, stop and change direction without giving any warning indication to those close by. With an increasing aged population and a growing obese, less mobile, population the numbers driven will continue to rise. Imagine the carnage if a fleet of mobility scooters were used as a 'rolling roadblock' through a shopping mall.

With their latest fashion pushchairs parents are aware of the potential of using them for crowd breaking to obtain a clear passage. The three wheeled triangular shaped models are ideal for this task acting like a wedge to force a way through. Two or three of these in an arrowhead formation heading towards a crowded path is a formidable sight and a potential for multiple collateral damage to shins and feet of those too slow to move out of the way.

One of the most dangerous situations is to be in a queue for an elevator with either, or both, a mobility scooter user, or pushchair pushing parent, directly behind you. When the doors open there is the potential risk of ending up pinned to the rear wall of the lift by a scooter front bumper or a pushchair wheel forced between the legs.

The thought of a mobile telephone geek writing a text message or a tweet whilst driving a mobility scooter, or pushing a crowd breaking pushchair, in a shopping mall and the potential danger is beyond belief. Is it? Haven't there been car and lorry drivers prosecuted for sending texts and tweeting on mobile telephones whilst driving their vehicles?

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