Speedy mobility scooters a danger
New Zealand’s import laws are allowing dangerously fast mobility scooters into the country.
Mobility Manawatu¯ owner Rob Stick, who sells and services mobility scooters, is concerned that import laws are putting scooter users and pedestrians at risk.
Australian laws state that anyone who imports mobility scooters must prove they are limited to travelling at a maximum speed of 10kmh. In New Zealand, ‘‘anyone can import anything’’ that is designed to be a mobility scooter, regardless of its top speed, Stick said.
Mobility Manawatu¯ sells scooters that can go between speeds of 8kmh and 12kmh, which is similar to a jogging speed. Some imported scooters have top speeds of 40kmh, posing a risk to pedestrians.
Stick said it was possible to limit these scooters to a safer speed but there was no legal requirement to do so in New Zealand.
Mobility scooter users are legally required to travel at a speed that is safe for others but the law does not state a set speed limit. Stick said only newer scooters were equipped with speedometers, so it was up to the user’s common sense to determine what a safe speed was.
Most mobility scooter riders were courteous but Stick thought the reputations of the majority were tarnished by the actions of a few.
‘‘Members of the public see one person tearing down the road doing bad things, and they’ll think all mobility scooter users are the same.’’
The Horizons Regional Council held its annual mobility scooter safety event in Palmerston North yesterday. The event was attended by members of mobility groups from Levin, Whanganui, Feilding and Palmerston North. In the afternoon, the group was taken on a guided ride around the Esplanade.