Mobility scooter riders should travel as slowly as possible.
Mobility scooter riders should travel as slowly as possible. Alistair Brightman

Council urges safe scooting

MOBILITY scooters might have lost some of their popularity at Ballina after one rider put a woman in hospital, now Richmond Valley Council is moving to head off discontent in its own communities by urging riders to travel as slowly as possible.

Richmond Valley Council general manager John Walker said people riding the scooters, also known as "gophers", should travel as slowly as possible to avoid accidents.

That not travelling at more than 10km/h and being particularly careful when travelling through crowded areas.

Mobility scooters were required to stick to footpaths as much as possible, had to give way to pedestrians and be careful not to cause obstructions.

"Gophers give greater mobility to those with restricted movement and should be respected," Mr Walker said.

"It is the rider's responsibility to make sure other pedestrians and motorists can see them and they must make sure they are travelling at the right speed at all times."

Mobility scooter safety tips:

Only use roads as a last resort when there are no footpaths.

Follow the same rules as pedestrians if having to travel along the road, namely, keeping to the far left or far right and giving way to traffic as required.

Crossing the road at pedestrian crossings. Choose open areas and avoid crossing from behind parked cars or other obstructions.

Attaching a reflective safety flag to your scooter high enough for motorists and cyclists to see. You can get these from a bike shop.

Wear brightly coloured clothes.

Display a white light at the front, a red light at the back and reflectors for times when there is less daylight.

Watch out for parked and parking cars and for drivers opening doors.

Be patient. Slow down, stop and give way to faster, heavier vehicles - you cannot race a car or truck when you're driving a motorised scooter.



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