A Wimmera Mobility Group spokesman has urged communities across the Wimmera-Mallee and Grampians to form their own groups to maximise safety in managing mobile scooters.
Group chairman Geoff Baker said the number of ageing ‘baby boomers’ keen to maintain their independence across the region had led to a considerable increase in people using mobile scooters.
Mr Baker said the group and allied agencies had spread a message about the safety and protocols involved in using scooters during visits to various regional centres during the past two years.
“We’ve invited people to come along to our sessions with limited success so the key is for communities to form their own groups,” he said.
“We’re called Wimmera Mobility Group but the truth is the we only have people from Horsham turn up at our events. People across the region are certainly still welcome to be part of our organisation but we recommend, considering individual circumstances are different across the region, that communities form their own groups.”
Mr Baker said figures showed that between 400 and 500 people in Horsham alone were using mobility scooters and numbers would be relatively similar in centres such as Stawell and Ararat.
“A place like Edenhope has 70 so you can see that it is a significant development in our region and it is important that everyone is aware of the safety issues and protocols involved,” he said.
The group’s call comes in the wake of an increasing number of incidents involving scooters, cars and pedestrians based on an increased number of people using scooters.
Mr Baker was among people involved in one of the incidents, while crossing the road at a Horsham intersection, which also prompted him to stress a need for people to understand the value and various levels of insurance available as well as safety and operation procedures.
“It’s important for everyone to remember that they are operating a machine on a footpath or public thoroughfare which can make the user, passers-by and vehicles at intersections vulnerable to accidents,” he said.
“The fundamental message is about fashion, be thankful that you have a degree of independence but be aware that there comes a degree of responsibility in using the machines.”
This article was sourced from The Weekly Advertiser published on Wednesday, May 20, 2015.