Ballina scooter driver Beryl Anders exercises caution when she travels around Ballina.
Ballina scooter driver Beryl Anders exercises caution when she travels around Ballina. Cathy Adams

Council puts the brakes on scooter rage

BALLINA is possibly the mobility scooter capital of the universe.

On a cold and wet Wednesday afternoon, The Northern Star expected it would be a challenge to find a scooter driver, but within seconds we spotted Beryl Anders, and moments after that we spotted another five scooters driving by.

Beryl's daughter bought the scooter for her after she had a heart attack and two strokes and decided it wasn't safe for Beryl to drive a car anymore.

"I love it, I'd be lost without it," Beryl said.

Ballina Shire Council has recognised scooters are becoming increasingly popular with the elderly, but they have caused some problems with other pedestrians.

It's called 'scooter rage', and yesterday the council's road safety and community education officer, Natalie Chapman, ran a free scooter safety workshop to address the problem.

"Ballina is very popular for scooter users and you don't have to pass a licence test to drive one," she said.

"We started this initiative to make sure people are educated and know what they are doing."

The workshop included presentations by the police on the rights and responsibilities of scooter drivers, who are
classified as pedestrians.

There was also an occupational therapist who talked about the skills needed to judge distances and traffic speeds, and how to handle the controls.

If it hadn't been for the rain, Natalie would have had the scooter drivers out in the car park doing figure eights and circuits between witches' hats.

Ms Chapman hopes the course will be held annually.


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