Mobility Scooter south Tweed Heads.
Mobility Scooter south Tweed Heads. Scott Powick

Scooting with death

UNREGISTERED, no helmet and not so much as a visibility flag – this mobility scooter rider was on the road negotiating one of Tweed’s busiest intersections.

The man was photographed leaving Tweed City Shopping Centre before following traffic, giving way at a roundabout and queuing at a red light at the intersection of Minjungbal and Machinery drives.

He managed to get through the traffic before driving up onto the footpath along Machinery Drive.

In New South Wales the same rules that apply to pedestrians also apply to motorised wheelchairs.

Operators must not travel on the road unless it is impracticable to travel on the footpath and must keep to as far to the side of the road as possible and face oncoming traffic, according to the RTA website.

The vehicle must not travel faster than 10 kilometres per hour on level ground, must have an unladen mass greater than 110kg and must not be ridden by a person with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 or more.

Tweed Byron Police Inspector Owen King said an increasing number of mobility scooters were being used in the area.

“The scooters are generally ridden by older people and our advice is to exercise extreme caution,” he said.

“Pedestrians still have the right of way on footpaths, so right of way should be given.”

Marion Marriott, owner of supplier store Scooters and Mobility, said customers were briefed on general safety when they bought a mobility scooter.

“Anyone who buys a scooter gets a road rules pamphlet,” she said.

“They forget the road rules and forget that motor vehicles can’t see them when they come to traffic, and they should always have a visibility flag.

“But the bottom line is it is illegal to blatantly ride on the road. They have to use a footpath if there is one there.”

For advice on motorised wheelchair operation, visit www.rta.nsw.gov.au/roadsafety/pedestrians/motorisedwheelchairs



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