Call for united safety ef­fort

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

Wim­mera Mo­bil­ity Group chair­man Ge­off Baker has urged mu­nic­i­pal coun­cils across the Wim­mera to maintain foot­paths and branches that over­hang foot­paths.

Mr Baker said un­even sur­faces could be problemati­c for scooter users and low branches could cause problems with their vis­i­bil­ity flags.

He also urged com­mu­ni­ties across the Wim­mera, Mallee and Grampians to form their own groups to max­imise safety in manag­ing mo­bile scoot­ers.

Mr Baker said the num­bers of ageing, re­tired peo­ple keen to maintain their in­de­pen­dence had led to a con­sid­er­able in­crease in peo­ple us­ing mo­bil­ity scoot­ers.

“Another im­por­tant mes­sage is to scooter users to also take care of peo­ple around them, es­pe­cially the users who do what I call ‘speed­ing’,” he said.

“These scoot­ers can re­ally hurt if you hit some­one. In Hor­sham, there is a coun­cil by­law to try and reg­u­late how fast you should travel in­side and out­side the Cen­tral Busi­ness Dis­trict. It is walk­ing pace only in the CBD, and 10 kilo­me­tres an hour out­side the CBD. As a group, we think this is work­ing a lot better than a few years ago.”

Mr Baker said the or­gan­i­sa­tion was called Wim­mera Mo­bil­ity Group but the real­ity was that only peo­ple from Hor­sham at­tended its events.

“Peo­ple across the re­gion are more than welcome to be part of our or­gan­i­sa­tion – but we rec­om­mend in­di­vid­ual towns to form their own group,” he said. Mr Baker said fig

ures showed that be­tween 600 and 800 peo­ple in Hor­sham alone were us­ing mo­bil­ity scoot­ers and num­bers would be rel­a­tively sim­i­lar in cen­tres across the Wim­mera.

“A smaller town like War­rackn­abeal, at a guess, would have more than 100, or Eden­hope might have 70 scoot­ers. So you can see that it is a sig­nif­i­cant is­sue in our re­gion and it is im­por­tant ev­ery­one is aware of the safety is­sues,” he said.

Mr Baker said the group was con­cerned about the in­ci­dence of ac­ci­dents in­volv­ing scoot­ers across the re­gion.

“This comes in the wake of an in­creas­ing num­ber of in­ci­dents in­volv­ing scoot­ers, cars and pedes­tri­ans, based on the num­ber of peo­ple us­ing scoot­ers,” he said.

Mr Baker said he had been among peo­ple in­volved in one of the ac­ci­dents, while cross­ing a road at a Hor­sham in­ter­sec­tion.

He said the in­ci­dent prompted him to stress a need for peo­ple to un­der­stand the value and var­i­ous levels of in­sur­ance avail­able, as well as safety and op­er­a­tion pro­ce­dures.

“Check with your in­sur­ance com­pany be­cause you could be cov­ered through your con­tents cover,” he said.

“It’s im­por­tant for ev­ery­one to re­mem­ber that peo­ple are op­er­at­ing scoot­ers on a foot­path or pub­lic thor­ough­fare, which can make the user, passer-by and ve­hi­cles at in­ter­sec­tions more vul­ner­a­ble to ac­ci­dents. The real mes­sage for scooter users is to be seen. Make sure you have a flag on your scooter and coloured cloth­ing.

“Be­ing seen is so im­por­tant. Be thank­ful that you have a de­gree of in­de­pen­dence, but be aware that there comes a de­gree of re­spon­si­bil­ity as well.

“For ex­am­ple, if you are in a scooter and you over­take some­one walk­ing, you are prob­a­bly go­ing too fast. And many peo­ple aren’t aware that if they are go­ing to use mo­bil­ity scoot­ers, they should be pre­pared to be tested for their abil­ity to op­er­ate them ef­fi­ciently and safely.

“It is best to check with an oc­cu­pa­tional ther­a­pist be­fore they can be used in pub­lic.”

SAFETY: Wim­mera Mo­bil­ity Group chair­man Ge­off Baker shows how awk­ward cir­cum­stances can be­come as scooter op­er­a­tors nav­i­gate around cars. Pic­ture: PAUL CAR­RACHER

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.