The Mobility Scooter Inquiry
Interesting Points Raised
The Federal inquiry into ‘The need for regulation of mobility scooters, also known as motorised wheelchairs’ is accepting submissions until 13 March 2018.
The inquiry will report on 20 September 2018. The inquiry was brought about because a senator’s wife was hit by a mobility scooter and needed a hip replacement.
The inquiry will investigate the regulation of mobility scooters, including the number of deaths and the causes of these accidents. It will also look at the current regulation on mobility scooters and how it compares with international standards.
Currently, people who use mobility scooters do not need a license, insurance or ongoing eyesight and health checks. However, mobility scooters are required to not be able to go faster than 10km/h hour and must obey pedestrian road rules.
The submissions so far bring up a range of interesting points.
Some argue that as mobility scooters are walking replacements, there is no need for them to go faster than walking speed. They also suggest there should be a general protocol for if people are hit, similar to what happens after accidents with cars, to reduce the rate of mobility scooter hit and runs.
Others argue that all modes of transport cause accidents from time to time and that mobility scooters are no different.
While others, such as the Youth Disability Advocacy Network argue that as people can run to escape danger, people using mobility scooters should be able to speed up as well for safety reasons. They oppose the proposed weight restrictions to under 150kg on the grounds that it will limit the battery power of mobility scooters and impact of people’s ability to travel around.
People with Multiple Sclerosis Vic Inc propose that Australia copies the UK and has a two level speed limit. The lower level of 6km/h for areas such as shopping centres, on retail area footpaths and in public buildings and a 10km/h upper limit for use on roadways. They also suggest that retailers should have to give people purchasing a mobility scooter basic training before they get behind the wheel.