Speedy mo­bil­ity scoot­ers a dan­ger

The Dominion Post - - News - Alex Loo

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.

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