Senator Derryn Hinch is backing calls for speed limit reductions and further restrictions on mobility scooter drivers across the country.
It comes after an elderly man was spotted on his mobility scooter on Monday, cruising down the middle of a Melbourne road with no regard for the car behind him or other drivers trying to pass. Footage of the man was captured by 3AW producer Michael Hill. According to Hill, the man appeared to be be visually impaired.
Speaking on 3AW about the incident on Tuesday, Hinch told radio host Neil Mitchell, authorities need to address the rising number of accidents caused by the scooters, which are largely free from road rules and regulations.
Most Australian states and territories don’t require mobility scooter drivers to have a licence, insurance or medical checks, and the road rules they must obey are often vague. While they’re not meant to travel more than 10 kilometres per hour on the footpath, it’s not uncommon to see drivers taking their scooters on-road – causing havoc for those around them.
In April, research from Monash University revealed at least 129 riders and three pedestrians were killed in accidents involving mobility scooters between 2000 and 2017, The Advertiser reported. The findings prompted fresh calls for elderly and disabled Australians to undergo compulsory training before using the vehicles.
Hinch is also calling for lower speed limits and further restrictions on mobility scooters, noting that age is also a factor when it comes to dangerous scooter drivers.
“The thing is, if they suddenly come out of a driveway or you’re on a scooter and a kid runs out … and people are getting older, their reflexes are slower,” he said. “It can be a recipe for disaster.”
Facebook users were quick to comment with one saying, “shouldn’t be on the road,” while another added, “very concerning and dangerous”.
While plenty of people agreed a reduction in speed limits would result in less accidents, others argued it could become dangerous when crossing busy roads.
In 2017, Senator John Williams pushed for a lower speed limit after his wife was injured in a collision with a scooter.