Man, 97, bowled off mobility scooter

MATT BOWEN
Last updated 11:31 14/08/2014

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A 97-year-old man was seriously injured when a car smashed into his mobility scooter on a busy Hamilton road.

Police have grave concerns for the man's wellbeing.

St John Ambulance staff took the man to Waikato Hospital from the crash in Cambridge Rd, Hillcrest, yesterday.

The incident was still being investigated but initial indications were that the man had been driving his mobility scooter across the road into the path of traffic, Senior Sergeant Peter Simpson, of the Waikato District command centre, said.

"He had extensive injuries as a result, several broken bones," Simpson said.

"There's a worry about his injuries and the severity of them due to his age."

The collision served as a reminder that mobility scooters should not be driven on the roads if at all possible, Simpson said.

The car driver was in shock.

Mobility scooters and power chairs are legally defined as "wheeled mobility devices" and neither drivers nor the machines are required to be licensed.

But there are legal safety requirements: drivers must use the footpath, when it is readily accessible, and stay close to the side of the road when a footpath is not readily accessible. When on the footpath, drivers must not travel at a speed that endangers others.

The NZ Transport Agency urges scooter drivers to use pedestrian crossings wherever possible.

"If you can't find one, avoid travelling over kerbs and don't cross the road without first checking carefully that the way is clear," it says.

Operating a wheeled mobility device carelessly, inconsiderately or at a hazardous speed can result in a fine of up to $1000.

If you cause a crash in which someone is injured or killed, you could be convicted and face a fine of up to $4500 or up to three months imprisonment. 

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