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Marteny: Using electric scooters safely
While electric scooters are a great mobility aid for seniors, they must also take ultimate responsible for their own safety when riding them.
Seniors riding electric scooters are classified as pedestrians and must follow the same rules as someone walking on a street or sidewalk.
First, as electric scooters must be ridden on sidewalks, the operator must avoid coming up quickly from behind people on foot.
Electric scooters can also only be driven on the street when sidewalk access is not available and the operators must be facing the oncoming traffic.
When crossing the street, do so at a marked crosswalk wherever possible and be aware of oncoming traffic.
When riding an electric scooter, it is a senior’s responsibility to be aware of their surroundings.
Have mirrors attached to see behind the scooter.
Add a canopy so that the sunlight is not interfering with your sight.
Have a proper holder for an oxygen tank and a cane if required.
For shopping purposes, have a proper basket on the back of the scooter.
If a walker is needed when the seniors arrive at the destination, a walker frame holder is available for the back of the scooter.
Scooter flags are available to aid in being visible to others.
At all times wear a helmet, added protection in case the scooter flips over.
For added visibility wear an orange vest.
If the electric scooter has headlights, turn them on while riding during the day and use the four-way flashers when stopped.
If a senior is going to drive when it is dark outside, wear reflective clothing to assist in being easily visible.
For increased safety, only ride outside during the day when the daylight and weather allows the seniors to see easily and be seen.
Do not ride during the colder weather when there is ice and snow on the sidewalks.
A common mistake that seniors make is not keeping the electric scooter battery charged. This could lead to the scooter stopping at a place and time where it’s not safe.
It should be charged every night which will also add to the life of the battery.
The size and speed of electric scooters is increasing.
Seniors must realize that when they are riding that they must be capable of maneuvering them safely.
If seniors have any physical or mental limitations that might negatively impact their reaction time, then a scooter may not be the best options for safely getting around.
Any accidents that seniors are deemed to have caused could result in charges being laid under the Motor Vehicles Act. This could also result in financial penalties.
If family members are aware of any limitations of the seniors and there is an accident, the families could be held liable.