Mobility scooters are risking peoples’ lives 19



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While you may or may not use a mobility scooter, you’ve definitely seen others using them, and potentially putting themselves at risk.

It’s actually much more common than first thought, and doctors are now expressing concern at the growing number of cases where a mobility scooter has collided with cars, other pedestrians and footpaths.

It’s prompted calls for helmets and other protective measures to be considered.

At least 230,000 Australians use motorised wheelchairs that can travel at up to 10km/h and Dr Edward Gibson studied how many people had landed in South Australian hospitals because of them.

SMH reports Dr Gibson’s audit found that, between 2010 and 2015, 81 patients had been injured by mobility scooters in some way, including 12 people who were not riding them but got were involved in accidents with them.

So why is this happening? Dr Gibson says some may have lost their balance on a rocky path and tipped it over and some may have suffered a heart problem which caused them to lose control and crash into a stationary object.

Every state and territory has a different law for scooters but QLD is the only state that requires registration. And while scooters are not meant to exceed speeds of 10km/h, Dr Gibson said some of them which weigh 100-150 kilograms may be going faster than that.

He also highlighted how there is no training on how to use a scooter further than point of purchase, and no assessment of need.

Dr Gibson said “There are a few areas at the policy level that could be improved”.

“Having good access to them is important but … the safety issues need to be managed and could be managed better”.

What do you think? Have you seen incidents involving mobility scooters?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Some users take risks and cut across in front of cars while others are forced to go on the roads because the footpaths are in poor repair and unsafe. That puts scooter users at risk of tipping over. They could perhaps be encouraged to use the bike lanes but then those on bikes would also cause them risk because some of them are bullies on the road as well. If the footpaths were safe then there would be no need to be on the road.

  2. I am afraid some scooter drivers race along and do not consider those at walking pace. I feel they should only travel at walking pace when in a shopping centre, or on a busy footpath. I spoke to a shopping centre manager once about this – he advised they are spoken to, but do not heed advice.

    1 REPLY
    • I agree. They hurtle amongst people in crowded shopping centres with no regard for the injury they can cause.

      Just recently an idiot motorised chair rider came rocketing out of a shop just as I was passing the shop door. He hit the supermarket trolley I was pushing which overturned. It twisted my wrist and gouged a lump out of a passer by. Then he had the hide to berate me for getting in his way!

      This guy often travels at speed in the shopping centre and ignores the comments of those he passes with an arrogant sneer.

  3. Hi, I drive a mobility scooter and I am very careful going places. I have never heard of any one causing or having a accident in the 7 years that I have had mine, you have to be a idiot to cut in front of a car for one thing and have no sense of road rules. I go to my doctors and Aldi’s using the road some times.if you stick to driving close to the gutter you should not have a problem. Please don’t make us where helmet as we would end up not ever going out again.

    3 REPLY
    • That didn’t stop cyclists from going out. If you tipped over or were hit by a car you’d likely do a lot of damage to your head without a helmet.

    • That’s too bad, vanity shouldn’t come into this, it’s a safety matter and disabled people who ride try cycles on footpaths have to wear helmets, why shouldn’t you. Its time hat scooter riders. Had to wear helmets !

  4. I know that Scooters have given freedom to a lot of people but from what I have seen over the years , they should be licensed the same as car drivers. I also think the same for bike riders, all you have to do is sit outside a school one day and watch the little idiots who think they are invincible on a bike.

  5. Scooters have become the alternate transport for people not having a motor vehicle licence and in many cases these users are capable of walking or have good mobility. As a user of a powered wheelchair (with a permanent disability, a survivor of polio), I have been driven into by a scooter been blocked from businesses as the scooter is parked in a door way and the rider comfortably walking around the business area. I have been bruised and damaged by these inconsiderate incompetent riders of scooters and there are many others able to tell the same story. A scooter user follows no rules, blocks aisles in Supermarkets (many scooters are so large they are small motor vehicles and should not be in shopping centres, supermarkets. there must be a licence to drive and manage or they should not be used. when first needing to use a power wheelchair as I lost weight bearing and mobility, I was instructed by an Occupational Therapist and and taken over a track with many obstacles so that I could manage the use of the power chair and was taken shopping and guided along roads and footpaths by the OTs and my Carer all of whom provided me with rules of the road and any rules available for the use of the power wheelchair. Today a scooter can be purchased through classified adds, secondhand stores and passed on to family and friend when not in use or after they are nor longer able to be used. this is a disgrace and it is unfair that there is so little regulation on the use, regulations rules and responsibilities, licence and registration of these vehicles known as Scooters.
    I must applaud Bribie Island Doctors, Second Avenue, Bongaree 4507, who provide parking spaces at the front of the building for Scooters and do not permit them in the Surgery. The Manager of a large Supermarket Chain in Brisbane asked three Scooter Riders to remove them from the store as they were parked in the aisles.the abuse I witnessed from these Scooter riders to the Manager and Staff was unbelievable. It was hard to imagine that words coming from those mouths were possible.
    Governments must take a stand through their Departments of Roads and Safety. Today I witnessed, during a shopping expedition in Victorian seaside tourist resort two scooters being ridden by one male and one female no older that late 20’s park the scooters and run, yes run, into the supermarket fill up baskets and then loaded then onto the scooter and took off.

    1 REPLY
    • I Have had a Mobility Scooter for years. For a start in Qld you have to have a Doctors Certificate to be able to have scooter registered. I always pull over or stop if there are children or not enough room for me as well as pedestrian. On the other hand there are people who cut in front on you , and don’t consider I am on a machine that would do some severe damage to them. Then there are the people on footpath with earphones on and it does’nt matter how loud you yell or use your horn they don’t hear you. It’s just common sense when using or around a Scooter. I usually park my scooter against a wall, out of the way, and get a trolley or use my shopping centres . Shopping centres maybe should consider having places for people to park scooters. Yes it annoys me when you see people park their scooters out in the middle of centre .

  6. I live in Qld and was using a Mobility Scooter for over 2 years and still do sometimes. I live in Ipswich area and the footpaths are terrible in so many places. Even the driveways are too high to get up unless you take it extremely careful and some cannot cope with that. It means in most cases that the rider has to go further to get where they want because of these hazards. I see many scooter riders on the wrong side of the road, rules state that if on the road due to no footpath or hazardous footpath you must be going on the side where traffic is coming towards you and so many have their backs to the traffic which is on the wrong side. I have told many of these people and they ignore as they think they are right. When you receive your registration there is a Roads Rule included and therefore the rider is not reading or does not understand. This needs to be addressed in Qld. You can also control the speed and I think some do not know the instruction manual they receive with the scooter. I have seen some go at an excessive speed thinking that people will move for them but that is not the case.

  7. It’s NOT the scooters riders’ who need helmets, it’s the PEDESTRIANS’ in Shopping Centres who do!

    These elderly ‘hoons’ go faster than ‘walking pace’ inside S/C , & are nothing but a DANGER to those walking.

    Many a time, I’ve had to ‘jump’ out of a speeding cart’s way, or tell them to ‘slow down’, & if you do say anything to them, you’d met with an abusive, foul mouthed tirade from them!

    Personally, the scooters should be left outside, locked up, & if owners’ actually cannot walk, they get wheel chaired around by Centre Staff, at a FEE, to do so. That’d soon sort the ‘wheat from the chaff’!

    They need to be licensed, so do a Test to ensure they know how to use them on footpaths.
    It’s a vehicle, a mini car!

    They’re nothing but bee nuisances in PEDESTRIAN shopping malls.

    1 REPLY
  8. sadly for some people they are a weapon ithey are getting bigger and faster .one guy we know thinks he owns the road my husband amlmost has a heart attack when he sees him hes all over the road

  9. My mother had one and we had to stop her using it. One of the things she did, when she didn’t know I was watching, was to shoot off the end of a footpath, where the building came right to the gutter edge and truck deliveries were made. When she was questioned about it she said “Oh, I’d hear them coming or they’d see me”.

  10. All modes of transport should be registered that includes electric scooters,electric wheel chairs,and especially bloody pushbikes .

  11. The NRMA have classes about what to look for I a scooter and how to watch for accidents about to happen. I went to one during Senior’s month and found it very rewarding& interesting. They told me about looking for a scooter that will suit me & my abilities. Scooters that were fairly dangerous, what attachments would be good ,others that wouldn’t.
    They also said they were considering starting classes & that COTA were already teaching.
    The speaker also said that scooters are not the same as cars but like them you should have lessons.

  12. My wife was thrown out of hers several times, had to get ambos to lift it off her more than once

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