SAFETY FIRST: Greg McGuinness of Ballina believes if you show good manners when riding a mobility scooter, you will be shown good manners back.
SAFETY FIRST: Greg McGuinness of Ballina believes if you show good manners when riding a mobility scooter, you will be shown good manners back. Cathy Adams

Mobility scooter users fear crossing the road

A SURVEY of NSW mobility scooter users has found their biggest fear while operating their electric machines is crossing the road.

But for Ballina's Greg McGuinness, battling dangerous traffic isn't his biggest fear.

"I don't have any problems at all with traffic using my scooter," he said.

"I give out good manners and get good manners back in return tenfold."

He said its fellow scooter users.

"They need to be more considerate.

"They definitely go way too fast generally and need to remember that their scooter is three times as big as a person."

Mr McGuinness is one of hundreds of mobility scooter users across the Northern Rivers.

Currently there are 120,000 mobility scooter users Australia wide.

With an annual growth of 9%, that figure is expected to reach 280,000 in the next decade.

The "Blue Badge Mobility Scooter Safety and Insurance Survey" revealed 27% of NSW mobility scooter users had been in an accident and 35% had experienced a close call in the past year.

The greatest fear of 35% of NSW mobility scooter users was crossing the road, while 33% were worried about cars reversing out of driveways.

Local infrastructure was also a big issue for NSW scooter users, with 71% saying uneven footpaths were a problem and 48% said cracks in footpaths were a barrier to getting around.

The survey also revealed more than 40% of NSW mobility scooters are not insured and many believed they were covered by their home and contents insurance.

Blue Badge Insurance CEO Nikolas Witcombe said many of these people could be underinsured.

"Some home and contents policies cover a mobility scooter while it's at home, but not necessarily once they leave the house," he said.

Mr Witcombe said Blue Badge Insurance launched insurance products designed specifically for those who rely on mobility devices on Wednesday.

 

Mobility scooters

Keep an eye out for mobility scooters as you go about your day

Double check footpath traffic when reversing your car, particularly from driveways

If you encounter a mobility scooter on the road, slow down and allow at least a metre gap when passing them in your car

Give mobility scooter users plenty of time to cross the road

As a pedestrian, be prepared to give way to scooters if the footpath narrows or is under construction

Don't obstruct access - keep your bins off the footpath

Keep vegetation in front of your house maintained so it doesn't encroach on to footpaths