Mobility scooters: Are they a menace or necessary?
TALKBACK radio listeners have backed calls for speed limits and tougher restrictions on mobility scooter users, describing them as a menace on our footpaths.
Brisbane City Council wants the scooter limit reduced from 10km/h to a fast walking pace of 6km/h, and has demanded that the State Government introduce "basic licences" to ensure that riders are physically and mentally fit to be behind the handlebars, The Courier-Mail reported.
In retirement areas like the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Hervey Bay, many elderly people rely heavily on mobility scooters to get around.
But some drivers say they have become downright dangerous, pulling out in front of cars, and failing to give way to pedestrians on footpaths.
Listeners on Sunshine Coast station 92.7 Mix FM reported major issues with mobility scooters around Caloundra and Sippy Downs.
One caller, who lives at Sippy Downs, where there are two nursing homes, said one mobility scooter rider drove out in front of three cars in recent days.
Should there be tougher restrictions on mobility scooters?
Morning show host Mark Darin said he was stunned to hear of mobility scooters being declared a 'menace', joking they could be put in same league as skateboard riders on footpaths.
A federal parliamentary investigation into the safety of the devices was sparked after one hit National Party Senator John Williams' wife Nancy on a footpath, leaving her in need of a hip replacement.
The Courier-Mail reported Standards Australia has drafted new rules that would force scooters to have a "low speed switch" limiting them to 5km/h in pedestrian zones.
Talkback callers said there should be a license for mobility scooters and training requirements.
Some suggested scooter riders were using their machines to push their way into the front of lines at supermarkets.
One commenting on the Courier-Mail's article told of how "a patient who was legally blind who would ride her mobility scooter on two major roads to her appointments".
"The GP wanted to have her limited as this was clearly dangerous. Spoke to Main Roads and there was absolutely no restrictions possible. All we could do was advise the patient to drive on the footpath. There is no licencing arrangement, no testing and no follow up if the driver no longer is capable of controlling the large machine they are in charge of."
But a mobility scooter user wrote: "It carries CTP insurance through registration, comprehensive insurance and I am cleared by my doctors 3 times per year to keep using it. With it I can live without relying on others to basically function in the community. Take it away you take my life."