Mobility Scooters - Use, Misuse and Abuse

Covered ScooterLife must present quite a challenge when you are no longer able to walk very far under your own power. The mobility scooter is a blessing for those who can afford one. It gives much greater range than predecessors that were powered for however long your arms could push. In fact, I checked a man zooming down the side of a freeway in a shiny new one. The vendor had promised him a range of 17 kilometers and he was testing the truth of it.

Pedestrians, and the law considers the disabled person in a mobility scooter as a pedestrian, often take risks and fail to follow the rules. I've even seen scooters being driven like a car, the driver calmly sitting in the middle of the lane at a four way stop, left hand signal light on waiting his turn. Of course, this is not how it is supposed to be done and invites a collision.

When the sidewalk is present and passable, this is where the scooter operator must be. Otherwise, the left edge of the roadway facing traffic like any other pedestrian is where to "walk."

Having said that, I've noticed that many homeowners have planted trees and hedges at the edge of the sidewalk in front of their homes. If proper maintenance is not done, these plants soon encroach on the sidewalk and prevent scooter operators from using it. I'm nimble enough to walk around, but there may not be an opportunity for the scooter operator to follow suit. Take a careful look at your landscaping and trim it if needed. There's no sense causing a problem for others or having bylaw enforcement knocking on your door.

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Where one should scoot. Or pedest.

Otherwise, the left edge of the roadway facing traffic like any other pedestrian is where to "walk."

Methinks the right edge is where you'll be able to face what's coming at you?  And surely, in this country, the wise place for pedestrians and other non-vehicular road users to be in the absence of a sidewalk?

I've noticed that many homeowners have planted trees and hedges at the edge of the sidewalk in front of their homes. If proper maintenance is not done, these plants soon encroach on the sidewalk and prevent scooter operators from using it.

One thing I'll say for the District of North Van where I live, is that if you complain about vegetative encroachment in front of a property, they'll act quickly; first with a note to the property owner asking that they deal with it promptly, and if this doesn't happen by bringing in their own crew to cut it back (probably because that is actually District land anyway even though they may not be eager to mow the boulevard every week).

Going back to the main thrust of this Thread, it is truly worrying how many older folks of questionable intelligence we're seeing these days driving their devices on the road, apparently assuming that an orange flag stuck in the back bumper will make them safe.  Sheesh, and I thought wisdom was supposed to come with age?



Say What?

If I look at the street in front of my house and want to walk facing the traffic, I'm pretty sure that I need to walk on the left side of is still early in the morning though and I had to think about it.

Point of View

Hmm it's the point of view, I reckon.  As the driver, I reckon the pedestrian should be on the right, facing me.

Were I the pedestrian, or scooter operator, whatever, then indeed I would choose what to me would be the left side of the road.

Did you hear about the dyslexic agnostic insomniac?  Stayed awake all night wondering if there really is a dog ...

OK, Now I See

You were commenting from the driver's point of view and I was writing from the pedestrians point of view. Walk on the left, appear on the driver's right.

Insurance and liability

I have a real problem here.  I would not even think about driving a vehicle without liability insurance.  If you were to injure someone, the lawsuit could wipe you out financially.  In this province, ICBC is the only game in town for liability insurance however, they state that they only cover "motor vehicles" and wheelchairs, electric wheelchairs and scooters are not classified as such.

Indeed, I think we've all seen examples of cussed old codgers with attitude in shopping malls going like a bat out of hell.  Couple that with mobility and mental issues and it's a recipe for disaster.  You could easily be hit, break a leg ... or worse.  Or an unpredictible child run in front and be hit.  Where is your recourse?

Sue the old codger?  How would you feel destroying an old person's life?  Of course, it's also entirely possible that they have no assets anyway, so where are you?

Before I leave this subject, it applies to electric bicycles and other such vehicles that do not require license plates.  To me, these are highly dangerous on the roadways due to a large speed differential.  Couple that with a total lack of training or license testing!  

Other Thoughts

I guess that we could carry that speed differential thought one further and include what is likely the slowest road user, the pedestrian. They can be a significant hazard because they cause a lot of damage to a vehicle when struck and they don't have to be licenced, insured or trained either. Yes, I know that I'm being silly when I say things like that, but it does highlight how we seem to forget that not everyone gets around in a motor vehicle and that they are also entitled by law to use the highway.

Insured or not, we have to share. It's both a legal and a moral obligation in my view.

Yes, bad things do happen and sometimes there is no justice when they happen to you. Everything is a balance and you decide to either turn the other cheek or pursue damages as a first choice. By the same token, the person who did wrong is obligated to try and make up for that too. The courts and legal actions are there when we can't decide on the appropriate remedies on our own. They don't always make it right either and you cannot get blood from a stone as you have already observed.

You cannot insure yourself for everything in life although there are some things that we must do. Scooters, cyclists and pedestrians aren't required to insure themselves to use the highway, perhaps because for the most part, they aren't the ones causing the majority of the losses.

Handicapped 'Scooter'

Does not the term 'Handicapped Scooter'  refer to  the three and four-wheeled variety also referred to as 'Mobility Scooters' ? As most of these are capable of speeds well in excess of the average pedestrian speed, would/should they not fall under the Traffic Act as do Bicycles and Motor Assisted Cycles, and therefore travel on the same side as does other wheeled traffic?


The scooter is a motor vehicle as defined in the Motor Vehicle Act. However, when used by someone who is handicapped, it is specifically exempted from being regulated like a motor vehicle:

Application of Act

2  (2) This Act does not apply to the driving or operation of a mechanically propelled invalid's chair that is used only for the purposes for which it was designed.

Vern the scooter driver

We had a fellow name Vern who had one of the highend mobility scooters. It had a top speed of 12 km. and a range of 40km. Now Vern used to travel in the middle of a lane like he had the right to, many times I saw him in the lane during rush hour. Now his scooter weighed 400 lbs. so travelling at 12km could cause a great deal of damage. Possibily killing him or someone else or both, or doing damage to a vehicle. I've seen him going full tilt through parking lots, barely avoiding pedestrians. How would you get someone like that to pay for repair to your vehicle? I forgot to mention that he did this winter and summer.

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