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Scooter club gearing up

Mobility scooter user June Tainsh [seated] and Margaret Bulmer are starting a club for mobility scooter riders. PHOTO/SAM TATTERSFIELD

SAM TATTERSFIELD
[email protected]

Two mobility scooter advocates are preparing to launch a club for “friendship, skills, education, and fun” for the users in Masterton.

Organiser Margaret Bulmer, and scooter user June Tainsh are aiming to have the first meeting of the mobility scooter club on February 28, venue to be confirmed.

Stephen ‘Spike’ Taylor runs mobility scooter shop Mobility Wairarapa and says there are around 300 mobility scooter riders in the Masterton area.

Bulmer and Tainsh say most New Zealand towns the size of Masterton have a mobility scooter club.

They are hoping to get Masterton District Council on board and involve the police.

Tainsh put out an invitation to all councillors “to beg, borrow, or steal a mobility scooter”.

“We’ll take them for a ride round Masterton on the footpaths . . . see what they think of the jarring they get,” she said.

Sergeant Ian Osland, who will be offering safety advice to the club, said a level of care was needed when riding a mobility scooter.

“People come out of shops and a mobility scooter could potentially knock someone off their feet.”

Because the scooters are quiet, Osland said may not hear them coming.

It was smart to keep to the kerb side of the footpath when riding a mobility scooter in a busy area, he said, and people should also be aware that some scooters, which were quite powerful, were classified as motor vehicles.

“So, if a person has had their driver’s licence lapse due to age or another reason, then potentially they could be driving without a licence.”

Bulmer said feedback from other footpath users can get quite nasty, with people yelling at riders, “you shouldn’t be on the pavement”, when they were legally obliged to stay on the pavement.

Tainsh predicted chaos would ensue if mobility scooters took to the roads.

“We only go to 8-10 kilometres an hour, imagine us in a 50kmh zone, cars behind us tootling along.

“Imagine what would happen there – probably a lot of road rage,” she said.

However, she said scooter riders had to be aware that pedestrians had right of way on the footpath, and they should watch their speed.

“It’s give and take on both sides,” she said.

The pair also aim to make the club an advocacy group, with an issue for them being poor footpath maintenance.

The pair also lamented the number of weeds growing in footpaths, and said the effect of angled footpaths was accentuated by heavy mobility scooters.

  • For more information contact: Margaret Bulmer at (06) 216-2913, June Tainsh at (06) 377-3306, or text (022) 658-8139.

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