Motorised mobility devices - the law
A LETTER to the editor published on October 16 prompted the Mansfield Courier journalists to delve into the rules and regulations for pedestrian safety and the use of motorised devices by the elderly.
A check of current rules and information on Motorised Mobility Devices ( MMDs) indicates there are certain requirements and rules for users of MMDs.
Under Victorian law, a pedestrian is defined as including a person in a wheelchair and a person on a wheeled recreational device, motorised mobility device or wheeled toy.
A MMD can be defined as a chair mounted on two or more wheels that is built to transport a person who is unable to walk or has difficulty in walking.
A licence is not required to operate such a device.
Under the Road Safety Act (1986) and Road Rules Victoria, such motorised devices “must have a maximum capable speed of 10km/h on level ground and a maximum unladen mass of 110kg”.
Pedestrian laws state a person on a wheeled recreational device or wheeled toy must keep to the left of the path and give way to people walking when travelling on a footpath or shared path.
A person on a wheeled recreational device may use a footpath, a bicycle path or the bicycle side of a separated footpath provided they keep out of the way of any bicycle.
A person on a wheeled toy, who is under 12 years old may use a footpath but must not use a bicycle path or the bicycle side of a separated footpath (ie the pedestrian side must be used).
VicRoads produces a bro- chure in hard copy and electronically, entitled “A guide for choosing and using motorised mobility devices”.
This guide includes requirements on their use and sets out the Australian Standards.
Under responsibilities, the guide says: “You need to be very careful and slow down when near other people, especially pedestrians, cyclists and children”, and “You should make sure that your motorised mobility device complies with Australian Standards”.
In the introduction on whether to get a MMD, the guide suggests: “Your doctor can help you make this decision or may refer you to an occupational therapist for further assessment”.
Families, carers and aged care professionals who look after people with mobility issues wanting a MMD also have a role to play, as will the suppliers/ distributors of MMDs.
Locally, residents at Mansfield’s Bindaree Retirement Hostel who wish to use such devices are required to undertake an occupational therapist’s assessment before they are allowed to use them.
As with all aspects of road rules, responsibility lies with the user, with safety for the user, and those around them as paramount.
THERE ARE RULES: Residents who use a motorised mobility device are urged to obey the rules and stick to the speed limits. Bindaree residents Faye Pritchard and John Marsh are both users of motorised mobility devices and keep up with the changes in...