Scooter drivers rocking and rolling along Hamilton streets

Ewen McGregor rides a mobility scooter around Hamilton CBD and has found it very challenging on uneven pathways.

Ewen McGregor rides a mobility scooter around Hamilton CBD and has found it very challenging on uneven pathways.

Most people can negotiate a crack in the footpath when walking along Hamilton streets.

But for those in mobility scooters, the commute could have them rocking and rolling.

Hamilton resident Ewen McGregor says uneven footpaths is a problem which needs to be solved now before it becomes worse.

McGregor has been using a mobility scooter for six and a half years, and has had 13 knee surgeries.

He is able to walk short distances but relies on his scooter for daily tasks, such as traveling to the grocery store.

But Hamilton has not been built for scooters, he said.

During a short tour along a city street, McGregor pointed out pathways that left him rocking substantially in his scooter.

"The really bad ones are the ones that throw you around.

"While they're little irritations now, as the population ages, more and more pressure will be put on those sort of services."

On a daily trip from Marama St, McGregor said he could encounter up to six "dangerous" pathways.

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The worst zones, he said, were around the CBD, but many other areas have been pointed out as well.

Residents have come forward to say Hamilton East, Chartwell and Dinsdale are rife with uneven thoroughfare.

Sandra Morrison said footpaths around Fairview Downs are also terrible, with roadside tree roots breaking up and causing a hazard.

"(I've) tripped over a couple and my mum who had a scooter says it is a bumpy ride to the shops.

"Not to forget the overgrown bushes and trees you have to dodge."

Trish Greene said the pathways are not only in poor quality for mobility scooters but also for those relying on a walking stick or walker.

"Other family members are careful running on the uneven surfaces, too. Seems the asphalt just gets patched and patched. Not smooth or safe at all."

Hamilton City Council city transport team leader Robyn Denton said the council and NZ Transport Agency have made significant investment in shared paths and other facilities to support safe off-road travel.

"Generally speaking, Hamilton's relatively flat landscape makes it an accessible city for walkers, or people using wheelchairs, mobility scooters or bikes.

"We have hundreds of kilometres of footpaths and river paths and the vast majority of them are fine for users, but we are aware that some areas require further work.

"There has also been an increase in the number of people using mobility scooters, which has highlighted areas which hadn't come to our attention before."

Denton said the council worked with the CCS Disability Action Group and other advocacy groups including the Blind Foundation, Living Streets and Cycle Action Waikato to identify "hotspots".

 - Stuff


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