This information was kindly put together by Senior Constable Aaron Smith, South Dunedin Neighbourhood Policing Team.
With our aging population and the need for independence for those unable to take a walk down to the shops, there is an ever increasing number of people using mobility scooters.
Many of us don’t know what the rules are for mobility scooter users. Our South Dunedin Neighbourhood Policing Team is currently involved in a joint project with Dunedin City Council to create greater awareness of mobility scooters.
For one, mobility scooters have as much right to use the footpath as anyone and this is something we all need to remember. This is a time where we all need to be courteous to each other – giving a little is the key.
There are legal/safety issues and laws surrounding the use of mobility scooters.
- Always use your scooter in a careful and considerate manner
- You must give way to pedestrians
- You must use the footpath if one is available
- Travel at a courteous speed
- If involved in a crash, stop and see if anyone is injured
- If someone is injured report the crash to police within 24 hours
- If you have lost your driver’s licence due to vision or hearing issues, a scooter may not be the best option for you
- Do not use a scooter if under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Remember the careless use of a mobility scooter has legal implications
- Operating a mobility scooter carelessly, inconsiderately or at dangerous speed can result in a $100 fine or more
- If you cause a crash where there is an injury or death because of careless or inconsiderate use and when you fail to stop, you could be convicted of this and face fines of up to $4,500 or three months in imprisonment depending on the seriousness.
A frightening statistic – 10 elderly people have been killed and 19 seriously injured in mobility scooter crashes in the last five years in New Zealand.
It is up to each and every one of us whether we are pedestrians, motor vehicle users or mobility scooter users, to play our part to ensure we are all safe footpath and road users so that this figure is not repeated in the next five years.
So if you’re in a motor vehicle, keep alert and always expect the unexpected (especially at pedestrian crossings)/ If you’re a pedestrian on a footpath, smile, step aside for a few seconds and let people through. And finally if you’re a scooter user, know the rules you must adhere to and please don’t tear up the footpath as if you’re on a race track!
If you think a mobility scooter may be right for you check out your local providers here on Eldernet.