01.Safe scooter driving
Every year, about 500 people – mostly in their 70s, 80s or 90s – suffer head injuries and fractures due to an accident with their mobility scooter. More worryingly, 71 Australians have died from mobility scooter accidents since 2000. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has launched an awareness campaign about safe scooter driving in a bid to reduce these accidents and fatalities.
Driving a mobility scooter requires very good hearing, sight, strength, coordination, balance and concentration, so the ACCC recommends getting a check-up beforehand. If you lack these abilities or need to take medication that makes you drowsy, a mobility scooter may not be a safe option.
It’s also important to choose the right type of scooter. Three-wheeled scooters are only safe for indoor use, as they can be unstable and even topple over on rough surfaces. Outdoors, use a four-wheeled scooter, which can weigh up to 110kg and is much sturdier.
The following tips are recommended:
- Get some training. Check with suppliers and your local council for training opportunities.
- Drive on footpaths, in shopping centres and parks wherever possible – only use roads as a last resort.
- Stick as close as possible to the kerb facing oncoming traffic and exercise additional caution when driving on a road.
- Install a flag, lights and reflectors and wear bright clothes.
- Drive at no more than 10km/h, and at lower speeds in rough and crowded conditions.
- Don’t drink and drive.
- Only cross roads at lights or pedestrians crossings.
- Keep your load down. Limit the weight of parcels and never carry anyone else.
- Wear a helmet.
For more information and a free booklet, contact the ACCC on 1300 302 502 or www.accc.gov.au.