Scooters, Wheelchairs and Roads

I live in a small village in South Central Ontario and things are pretty lax around here. Many people walk on the road instead of the sidewalks (not sure why).

In our village we have a group of about half a dozen scooter users and a couple of wheelchair users who think they are driving cars. In spite of sidewalks that are cut down to allow access for mobility product users these people always drive on the roads and to make matters worse they tend to drive on the right side with the traffic approaching them from the rear.

While things are pretty lax around here and vehicle drivers, for the most part, are pretty careful and drive at reasonable speeds, the Trans Canada Highway goes through the middle of town and is the most dangerous roadway in the area due to large trucks and trailers and people just trying to get through the village quickly and get back to highway speeds. And still these people drive on the road with their backs to traffic. 

As far as the Ontario and most other governments are concerned mobility scooter users are pedestrians. Wheelchair, whether powered or manual, users are pedestrians. Pedestrians are supposed to use sidewalks. If there aren’t any sidewalks they are supposed to travel on the left side of the road facing oncoming traffic. The Ontario Ministry of Transportation states this on their website.

Mobility device users are a hazard when not following the rules as much as walking people are and are taking their life in their hands, not to mention those who try to avoid them in their vehicles.

Driving scooters and wheelchairs on the road is dangerous. During my 30 years in the retail end of the home health care industry I lost many clients because they were hit by cars and trucks on the road. Most were badly hurt, and several died. It doesn’t matter who is right and who is wrong when a vehicle hits a user using a mobility device, the vehicles barely get a scratch and the mobility device is destroyed, often along with the user.

If this issue was only confined to our village I’d not likely be so adamant about the dangers and write it off as a local issue but I regularly travel to a nearby city with a population of about 90,000 and see the same thing happening. If you are a mobility device user you stand a good chance of making your life a whole lot worse by not behaving like a pedestrian and following the rules.

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