A spokesperson for Southend Council has confirmed that an injunction has been taken out to effectively BAN joggers from using Southend Seafront between Shoebury Common and Chalkwell Beach – the announcement was made as a result of a ‘serious accident’ that took place on Sunday involving a jogger and a mobility scooter underneath the Pier Bridge. According to witnesses at the scene, the jogger was unwilling to move over so that the disability vehicle could get past, and the resulting failed overtake manoeuvre resulted in the electric scooter flipping over and ending up on its side. While the jogger escaped unharmed and carried on running from the scene, the owner of the scooter suffered a fractured nose, and a ‘number of visiting children’ were also caught up in the carnage.
Darren Polker, council Head of Non-Car Vehicular Engagement, said: ‘It is with great regret that we have been forced to apply to the High Court to stop all joggers, runners and powerwalkers from using Southend Seafront between Shoebury and Chalkwell – this legally-binding order will apply to pavements on both sides of the road. The very serious accident next to Southend Pier on Sunday is one that we cannot afford to see again, and for health and safety reasons we have taken swift and decisive action. The injunction comes into place with immediate effect, and it will be reviewed on 1st September 2016.’
Mr Polker continued: ‘Our fleet of CCTV vehicles will be deployed along this stretch of road at regular intervals to ensure that the injunction isn’t broken – residents are respectfully reminded that it will be in place 24 hours a day. All staff have been instructed to hand out £60 fixed penalty notices to anyone who is seen contravening this legal order, but signs are being installed along the route to ensure that nobody goes for a jog that turns into an expensive exercise session. We are pleased to be going the extra mile to ensure that Southend’s mobility scooter users are safe at all times, and people who want to exercise should enquire about the facilities at one of our town’s many council-backed leisure centre facilities. For example, many people aren’t aware that Garons Park has a swimming pool, so it is a great place for a swim and a run at the same time with a very competitive monthly subscription.’
Louise Hamilton, 81, was the mobility scooter user who is now recovering from her injuries at home. She doesn’t recall any precise details of the incident, according to her lawyer who was present at the time of our visit, but she had a stern warning for other joggers in the town who she feels ‘could get someone killed.’ She said: ‘How long will it be until one of us is brutally murdered by a runner who doesn’t know how to use a pavement properly? Some of these people reach speeds that are unsuitable for pavements, and if I had my way they would be forced to run in the road with all of the other lunatics out there!’