Retirees hone scooter skills

Up to 50 retirees dodging witches hats on motorised scooters may sound like an unusual sight.

But thats exactly what will be happening in Ballina this Wednesday, April 4 when Ballina Shire Council holds a free wheelchair mobility workshop to help scooter-users hone their skills.

The workshop was developed to educate Ballinas increasing population of mobility scooter users (currently estimated at over 500) who can run into problems on both footpaths and roads.

Mobility scooters are officially known as motorised wheelchairs and scooter users are classified as pedestrians and are meant to ride on footpaths.

Yet many users are unaware of their rights and responsibilities such as speed limits, according to Natalie Chapman, Ballina Councils Road Safety and Community Education officer.

Sometimes they ride too close to shops and people leaving the shops get collected by them. she said. Another issue is making sure they choose the appropriate time to cross the road rather than expecting the traffic to stop for them.

Ms Chapman said during the last course they held she was amazed at how little information scooter users actually had.

She said the workshop has both practical and theoretical sides and the last one they held was very successful, with a turnout of almost 50 people.

Ms Chapman said the workshops practical component includes tutoring in reversing and manoeuvring while the theoretical aspect includes an educational DVD and presentations from Councils Road Safety Officer, NSW Police, an occupational therapist and local scooter suppliers.

All scooter (motorised wheelchair) users are encouraged to attend the workshop which includes a light morning tea and lunch and booking is essential.

For more information phone Natalie 6686 4444.

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