Mobility scooter laws explained
A couple of weeks ago, a Matamata resident who uses a mobility scooter and wished to remain anonymous came into the Matamata Chronicle office concerned about what her rights were as a mobility scooter user.
She had been the victim of verbal abuse from people who told her she should not be on the footpath.
‘‘There are about 37 of us in Matamata and a lot just choose to stay home because they are sick of being abused and told to get off the footpath,’’ she said.
‘‘This is the only opportunity that my husband and I get to come down town so I want to make sure what we are doing is okay and most of all legal.’’
If you are involved in a crash, you must stop to see if anyone is injured, help anyone who is injured and report the crash to the police within 24 hours.
For more information about legal requirements for mobility scooters and power chairs, see the Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004.
It’s important to be aware that careless use of a mobility scooter or power chair carries legal implications.
For example, operating a wheeled mobility device carelessly, inconsiderately or at a hazardous speed can result in a fine of up to $1000.
If you cause a crash where someone is injured or killed, you could be convicted of careless or inconsiderate use of a vehicle and face a fine of up to $4500, or up to three months’ imprisonment.
Plan your travel so you miss peak-time pedestrian traffic and places where there could be a lot of people.
Keep to the side of the footpath as much as possible, to give pedestrians room to pass you.
Keep your speed down when riding on the footpath.
Use your indicator,
your vehicle has them, or hand signals.
Try not to startle pedestrians if you use a warning device ( for example a horn).
Use pedestrian crossings. If you can’t find one, avoid travelling over kerbs and don’t cross the road without first checking carefully that the way is clear.
Slow down if you are driving in a hazardous area, so you avoid potential dangers.
There are a number of safety accessories available, such as indicators, lights, horns, reversing beepers, warning flags and rear view mirrors.