It is a source of freedom for seniors and others who have lost their mobility, but motorized scooters can also be dangerous.
The Scooter Indy 500, an annual event hosted by The Gardens seniors residence in Qualicum Beach, is one way community leaders are making mobility scooter operators safer on our roads and sidewalks.
Oceanside RCMP Cpl. Jesse Foreman was at the annual event Sept. 11 and said they want to ensure the many mobility scooter users in the area have the skills necessary to be safe while out and about in the community.
“It is not just a fun event. Before we started I talked about the rules of the road and what the law is. You need to know what you are doing,” he said.
Following the safety talk, the participants took their rides through a series of obstacle course challenges which included stops, starts, parking, a roundabout and the tricky ‘S’ curve.
Staff members from Life Support Assisted Living were on hand to do scooter safety checks including tire air pressure and other maintenance.
Greg Greenshields, who owns the Parksville company and is also president of the Access Oceanside Association, said the event is held every year to remind people about their role in going from point A to B.
“It is important that people are aware of their surroundings. They need to look for safe ways to cross the street and make sure that motorists are watching them. They have to look in peoples eyes and make sure that they are stopped before proceeding,” he explained.
Greenshields said the safety factor was driven home just last week when a scooter operator was hit in a crosswalk.
“They had a flag and all the safety equipment yet a car didn’t see them and went through the stop sign and hit them and the scooter went over. We are now having to fix it but the good thing is no one got hurt.”
He said even before someone purchases a scooter, his team is trained to make sure they can operate the machine properly and safely.
“What we do before we sell a scooter is make sure they have the cognition and the ability. What happens sometimes is people change a couple of years down the road and their cognition may change. We try and keep an eye on that when we are doing the service and alert families if there are concerns,” he said.
He said there’s a lot to get to know before purchasing a mobility scooter and they welcome all questions.