Mobility scooters on footpaths present too many risks, the Pedestrian Council of Australia says. (ABC Wide Bay)
The Brisbane City Council wants to reduce the speeds of mobility scooters from 10 kilometres per hour to 6kph in the hope of lowering the risk of injury for other pedestrians.
- The council wants to lower the scooter speed limit and get the Government to consider a basic licence
- Queensland’s Police Commissioner says it is an issue that needs further consideration
- Mobility scooter users say a 6kph limit would be far too slow
The council has also proposed that the Queensland Government consider a basic licence for people who want to use a scooter.
The use of mobility scooters is currently part of a federal parliamentary investigation which followed an accident involving the wife of National Party senator John Williams.
Harold Scruby, the chairman of the Pedestrian Council of Australia, said allowing mobility scooters on footpaths presented too many risks to pedestrians.
“This is the first time since Roman times that we’ve started to allow vehicles on [footpaths] — their primary use is for walking,” he said.
“When you consider that we’ve got a rapidly ageing population, and that the highest cause of avoidable death after you’re 50 is from a fall, we’ve got to start to ask questions as to whether we should be allowing vehicles on footpaths.”
Mr Scruby said a national approach to the issue was necessary.
“There are going to be a lot more people using these devices, which is a good thing — we want to keep the community mobile — but we also want to keep all other roads and footpath users safe.”
Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said it was an issue that needed further consideration.
“My dad used to have one and he used to travel like a kilometre and a half down to his local shops, and he’d do that at the speed limit,” he said.
“But of course in the shopping centre area [he’d be] much slower, and I think maybe that’s part of the answer.”
‘I can go faster on a manual wheelchair’
Anne, a mother of two sons with muscular dystrophy, does not agree with the proposal for a speed limit reduction.
“For these boys I think it’s ridiculous — I don’t have any problems keeping up with them and they’re 10,” she said.
“If they lowered [the speed limit] to 6 [kph] they wouldn’t be able to keep up with me.”
Daniel Lloyd, a paraplegic who has been using a mobility scooter for the past three years said for people like him getting around was hard enough as it was.
“If that’s the case I’d go back to a manual wheelchair, which I can do 15 or 20 kilometres in,” he said.
“If they’re going to slow you down that much it will actually make it more dangerous, because people change and do something different.”