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Byron Shire
June 16, 2024

Ballina scooters out of control, says council

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Chris Dobney

Ballina councillors will again write to local MP Don Page asking for the government to step in urgently with legislation on the use of mobility scooters.

Councillors are concerned about the potential speed of the scooters, which are popular with elderly people in the town, and the lack of licensing and training of drivers.

Some scooters are capable of speeds up to 15km/h and photographs have circulated of scooters being driven on roadways instead of footpaths.

The council previously wrote to Mr Page in March, at the urging of its wheelchair-bound then mayor Phil Silver, to ask for tighter regulation of the scooters, which have been responsible for a number of accidents in the town.

In October there was a nasty accident in which two women were mowed over by a mobility scooter driven by a 92-year-old woman.

The women subsequently had to be taken to Lismore Base Hospital for treatment. One of the victims, 80-year-old Jesse Motte, spent two months in hospital with a fractured collarbone after the accident.

After meeting with the husbands of the victims, Mr Page said he would look favourably on the matter but nothing has so far been done.

Responding to similar calls at a meeting of the Local Government Association in October, a spokesperson for roads minister Duncan Gay said he did not intend to introduce ‘complex and expensive’ legislation to control the vehicles.

Yesterday the council unanimously passed a motion by Cr Robin Hordern inviting government representatives to come to the town to see the problem firsthand.

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  1. These machines are supposed to be speed limited by law to 10 kph and weigh no more than 100 kg. Many are illegally capable of much higher speed.

    Moreover, even at 10 kph they move at twice the speed of walking and I have seen riders weave dangerously among pedestrians.

    They should be limited to 5 kph within a ten metres of pedestrians.

    Considering the slow reaction times of many riders I would also like to see collision avoidance systems on all new scooters.

    Riders are also supposed to be disabled to be allowed to use a scooter. However I have seen some riders whose only disability appears to be they are fat and lazy.

    Unfortunately as with the illegal motorised bicycles becoming increasingly common on our streets, the police do not appear to be interested in enforcing the laws.


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