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Plea to register scooters after woman 'mowed down'

GOOD MOVE: Lesley and Charles Nicholson, of West Ballina, have welcomed a road safety committee inquiry into mobility scooters after Lesley suffered multiple injuries when hit by a scooter in 2012.
GOOD MOVE: Lesley and Charles Nicholson, of West Ballina, have welcomed a road safety committee inquiry into mobility scooters after Lesley suffered multiple injuries when hit by a scooter in 2012. Graham Broadhead

THE husband of a woman run down by a mobility scooter in 2012 says he is disappointed a parliamentary inquiry has failed to recommend they be registered like cars.

Charles Nicholson of West Ballina had hoped the New South Wales Staysafe committee's report into non-registered motorised vehicles would recommend scooters be registered like other motorised vehicles.

The report has been finalised and a response from the government is due by September 18.

"They (mobility scooters) really need to be registered," Mr Nicholson said.

"There are so many of them in NSW but they don't know how many there are to start with and they need to be identifiable when something goes wrong.

"Quite a number of people are hit by mobility scooters."

Mr Nicholson's wife, Lesley, and her friend, Jess Mote, were mowed down by a scooter while walking along a footpath in Cherry St, Ballina, in October 2012.

Both women suffered serious injuries.

Mrs Nicholson broke her left leg, both ankles and several smaller bones in her feet and was in hospital for almost four months.

She is still undergoing treatment.

Mrs Mote's collarbone was fractured after the 100kg scooter landed on top of her. The scooter was driven by a 90-year-old.

Mr Nicholson stressed he and Lesley see the need for mobility scooters.

"But there also is a need for people to be responsible (for any incidents) and to be competent to drive them," he said.

Along with registration, he called for mobility scooter owners to have compulsory third party insurance.

While most of Mrs Nicholson's medical costs have been covered by a levy imposed on motor vehicle green slips, the couple had to argue their case to the Motor Accidents Authority to claim those costs.

COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Investigate ways to improve data collection and research on injuries and deaths caused by non-registered motorised vehicles, as well as relevant risk factors
  • The NSW Government should continue to develop standard Australian Design Rule classifications for non-registered motorised vehicles
  • Accreditation systems for mobility device retailers should include a requirement to ensure potential purchasers satisfy basic motor skills based competencies
  • Investigate the feasibility of imposing a requirement for mobility scooters to be fitted with compliance plates or road worthiness certificates before they are sold
  • Investigate the insurance liability and insurance coverage options for mobility devices
  • Examine mobility scooter education and training programs

Topics:  accident editors picks injury mobility scooters



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