It's a column and it's for opinion - welcome back to the Opinion Column featuring a guest writer who shares their views on a particular subject.

This time, our editor Simon Bull is back on his soapbox about a safety issue.

I’ve often thought that smartphones have to be the most annoying invention of recent times.

They give people a multitude of new ways to annoy you on the bus or train, and they turn users into braindead zombies as they walk along the street. Plus if you have a smartphone, as just about everyone does, you can never truly switch off from life as you can be contacted by anyone at any time in a variety of ways.

I’m now starting to think, however, that there is something even more irritating than these gadgets. Something which predates smartphones but which has had a resurgence in the last few years. I’m talking about the child’s scooter.

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On my way to work I have to walk against a tide of parents and kids heading to school. The all-too-frequent set-up is you have a child bombing along the pavement not very carefully and not looking where they’re going, while about 100 paces behind is a useless parent most probably nattering to another parent or talking on their phone. They would be oblivious if their child crashed into somebody or came off their scooter and fell into the busy road.

It’s become a free-for-all on the pavements, with parents refusing to control their kids or hold their hands and keep them safe. Scooters used to just be for playtime in the garden or outside homes, but nowadays kids seem to be inseparable from their scooters which have become a main mode of transport. They’re like aggravating bugs buzzing around ready to take a chunk out of your leg if you’re not quick enough dodging out of their way.

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With the speed they can zip along at and with the lack of co-ordination these young riders have, scootering on the pavement isn’t much different to the dangers posed by cyclists who stupidly choose to put others’ safety at risk by riding on the footway. If you don’t reckon scooters are a nuisance and a hazard, just look back on our story about Janet Morgan who was clattered into by a little girl on one INSIDE The Glades shopping centre. It’s not just outside where these scooters are a pain.

By the way, it seems the scooter craze extends to adults as well. Adults who either feel left out or haven’t been able to let go of their own childhood. While these people and their contraptions can be just as irksome, there is something wonderfully hilarious about seeing a fully grown-up person riding a scooter.

If you've got an everyday bugbear you want to get off your chest, a topical issue to discuss or a local matter to highlight, you too could be one of our guest writers here on the Opinion Column. Email around 350 words on your chosen subject to editor