It’s time to make mobility scooter riders slow down

Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Mobility scooters have become an increasingly common sight on the footpath these days.

Sometimes it’s a senior citizen with their hand on the throttle, sometimes it’s a very large person, who might perhaps be exacerbating their own problem by opting not to walk a bit more often.

Sometimes it’s a person who appears to be perfectly capable of walking but chooses to fang about on a scooter.

And that’s the thing that bothers me about these things – the fanging about.

I get why some people might genuinely need a scooter. Walking is hard and it takes them so much longer to get anywhere than the average person.

However, in the process of gaining that mobility, why should they then be able to travel substantially faster than those who are walking?

The average walking pace is 5km/h an hour. The compulsory top speed of scooters in Australia is double that at 10km/h.

By what logical basis does someone on a scooter need to travel twice as fast as everyone else?

Keep in mind, these scooters are meant to be operated on footpaths and places where people are walking. So it makes no sense to introduce a device into that environment that can go twice as fast as those walkers.

It’s a genuine safety issue – I’ve seen so many scooter drivers hit speeds far faster than those around them. How more people aren’t hit by these things amazes me.

That maximum speed really is too high. It needs to be halved, to bring the scooters into line with the speeds of those pedestrians with whom they share the footpath.

Cutting the speed limit to 5km/h in no way affects the mobility of the users.

They will still be able to get to all the same places they do now.

They just won’t be able to get to them as fast. Instead, it'll take them the same amount of time as a walker.

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