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More 'scooter awareness' needed

Don't travel on the road when there is a footpath available.
Don't travel on the road when there is a footpath available. Alistair Brightman

WITH thousands of mobility scooters on the Fraser Coast, tempers can sometimes flare between riders, drivers and pedestrians.

In light of this, a number of individuals and organisations are calling for greater "scooter awareness" from the whole community.

Julie de Waard, from the Fraser Coast Regional Council, said Safe Scooter Education Sessions were being planned to keep the public informed of the rights and responsibilities of scooter riders.

To begin with, all scooter riders are classified as pedestrians and as such must stay off the roads and on the footpaths, unless there is no footpath for them to use.

The Independent Living Centre, an organisation dedicated to helping seniors maintain their quality of life, said that scooter riders had the same rights as any other pedestrians, however all riders needed to make sure they were both physically and mentally capable of operating the machines safely.

"In Queensland, you need a medical certificate to prove the scooter is for mobility purposes" said the ILC, but it was important riders had the hand strength, balance, vision, hearing and concentration capacity to use the scooters.

Judy Bevan, from Hervey Bay, is also concerned with scooter awareness and safety.

"While scooters are a boon for a lot of people, it is important to remember there are both irresponsible car drivers and scooter riders," she said.

Ms Bevan is currently campaigning to change the law, to make helmets compulsory for all scooter riders.

She said some of the people signing her petition were frustrated drivers.

"We hear a lot of stories about near-misses between cars and scooters," Ms Bevan said.

"But these drivers are always the first to sign the petition and that's because they recognise the need for improved safety for riders."

Ms Bevan and her husband, Ron, began their petition following an accident in June when one of their friends was hit by a car while crossing the road on his scooter.

While the 72-year-old was fortunate enough to survive the accident, it highlighted the need for drivers to also be aware of scooters, as he was legally using a pedestrian crossing at the time he was hit.

For more information, please visit the ILC website, www.ilcaustralia.org.

 

SCOOTER INFORMATION

  • Scooter riders are classed as pedestrians
  • Scooters must use footpaths and pedestrian crossings
  • There are about 2000 scooters on the Fraser Coast
  • Scooters need to be registered in Qld
  • A medical certificate is needed to own a scooter
  • Scooter speed limit is 10km/h
  • Riders are encouraged to use safety equipment such as flags and helmets

Topics:  awareness mobility scooter safety



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