Mobility scooter safety


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Mobility scooters or gophers as they are commonly called are now a familiar sight on our footpaths and roadways, but they can be death traps.

Just recently, entertainer and local crusader for the disabled, Len Somerville was killed when his mobility scooter and a four wheel drive collided at Semaphore.

Lens death got mobility scooter user Phil Menz into gear with a campaign to improve scooter safety. A visibility jacket is a no brainer but Phil wants changes to the stock standard model off the assembly line.

"An amber flashing light that everyone can see and the horns that come with the scooters, inadequate (beep) that's a scooter horn ...this is a horn that I put on (beep)...and that's what I reckon should be on all scooters," says Phil.

Ian Yates, the Chief Executive for the Council of the Ageing, reminds us that mobility scooter users are classed as pedestrians but often don't act like them.

"They also end up on the road because some people just say I'm gunna drive mine on the road and when there's no provision for that that can be quite dangerous," says Ian.

So Phil is gathering signatures on a petition to take to State Parliament to educate the pollies.

"Mainly widening existing bike lanes and ...and or any new proposed bike lanes to be widened for mobility scooters," says Phil.

But it's not just motor vehicles that are taking the lives of mobility scooter users. Only three days ago a 63-year-old woman died in a horrific accident at a Brisbane railway station.

The woman's scooter failed to stop near the edge of the platform and continued on and over the edge where it was struck by a train.

"We need to have training so that when one is sold there's an offer of a training package that goes with it," says Phil.

Automotive engineer Grad Zivkovic who has conducted tests into mobility scooter crashes wants to go further after documenting the results of an impact at just ten kilometres an hour.

"Serious and possibly fatal as well they have to upgrade safety to them obviously the occupants have to wear helmets and number two they have to have upper belts too," says Grad.

An ACCC report found that most scooter accidents occurred because of poor footpath infrastructure including ramps from footpath to road, inadequate training especially from internet retailers, inappropriate choice of model by users and poor levels of awareness by motor vehicle drivers.

"We can all be instant experts what we need is a bit of attention focused on this for a short period of time sign off on one code," says Ian.

"Support my petition and see if we can make changes for the better for everybody," says Phil.

Contact Phil Menz to support his petition:
0416 667 659