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LTSA warns scooter riders to keep off the roads

LTSA online
Fun and funky scooters, tipped to be the number one request from Santa this Christmas, could quickly turn into a number one hazard unless owners take heed of a few rules and safety tips, the Land Transport Safety Authority said today.

The LTSA said that people using foot-powered scooters, like skateboarders, were classified as pedestrians. That meant scooters should be ridden on the footpath and not on the road.

“Our strong advice is to keep off the road altogether,” the Director of Land Transport Safety, Reg Barrett, said.

“Scooters offer no protection to riders. Like pedestrians, scooter riders are extremely vulnerable and risk serious injury or death in any crash involving another vehicle. People should restrict the use of scooters to a safe environment.”

Mr Barrett said that parents and caregivers had a role to play in keeping a close watch over children playing on scooters anywhere near the road.

“We don’t want the excitement of a new Christmas present to turn into a road death tragedy. Something as simple as hitting a stone or going too fast can lead to a rider losing control so it is crazy to risk life and limb by mixing it with other traffic,” Mr Barrett said.

He reminded riders that they must obey all the normal road rules, and careless use of a scooter could see a rider facing a fine of up to $3000. When a scooter is used on a footpath the rider must take care not to harm or endanger other pedestrians.

Scooters, skateboards and other forms of non-motorised transport are also subject to local by-laws regulating their use. Some local authorities ban them from areas with high pedestrian use.

“The best thing to do is check with your local authority to see what laws are in place in your particular area,’’ Mr Barrett said.

Mr Barrett said there was no doubting the popularity of scooters but he urged riders to take care.

“While protective equipment is not legally required, it makes sense to wear a helmet and knee and even elbow pads for certain types of riding, especially in steep conditions. Robust shoes should also always be worn.

“A dash of caution and a pinch of common sense is all that is required to ensure these scooters are a safe and fun part of the Christmas mix.”

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