Scooting about in Ballina
OWNERS of motorised scooters have been warned – you can travel at 10kmh, but no faster.
That was one of the messages at Ballina Shire Council's free scooter seminar yesterday.
Ballina is known as the scooter capital of Australia, so it is important for the town's motorised scooter owners and pedestrians to learn to share the pathways.
More than 50 people attended the information session to hear about the rules and regulations from police, the NRMA and retailers.
Ballina man Byron Bartley has had his scooter for a few years, but still found the seminar very useful.
“Some people go too fast,” he admitted.
“But you've just got to use your common sense.”
Mr Bartley's scooter gets plenty of use – it's not just his mode of transport, it's also his fishing mobile.
“I take it when I go fishing at Flat Rock,” he said.
“I've got a spot for my fishing rod and the tackle box goes in the back.”
Claude Newport, of West Ballina, bought his scooter when he moved to the region from Grafton a few years ago.
“I said to my children, ‘maybe I shouldn't bring my car up',” he said.
“They didn't say anything, so I thought that I might have been on to something.
“I sold the car and got this scooter. It's been great.
“And I've been listening at the seminar – I obey the speed limit.”
But not everyone does.
Ballina woman Peg Moclair said she had seen one scooter driver going ‘way too fast'.
“She clipped the edge of a house post and did a lot of damage,” she said. “Most of us do the right thing.”
The council's road safety officer, Jodie Hewett, pleaded with scooter drivers to keep to the 10km/h speed limit.
“The paths are there to share, so please slow down,” she told attendees.
“Pedestrians often can't hear you coming.”
Many scooters on the market can do up to 15km/h or more, but they can be modified to keep them to 10km/h.
David Mackie, of Ballina Scooters, said despite some complaints about erratic scooters, most people were sensible.
“People will complain about anything,” he said.
“There should be education seminars for pedestrians as well as for the people who own scooters.”