No plans for licence plates

The New Zealand Transport Agency has played down calls to fit mobility scooters with licence...
The New Zealand Transport Agency has played down calls to fit mobility scooters with licence plates. Photo by Allied Press.
The New Zealand Transport Agency says it has no intention of fitting mobility scooters with licence plates despite calls to do so from a local police officer.

Mosgiel community constable Senior Constable Karren Bye made the call after a community meeting at the Mosgiel RSA in which pedestrians and mobility scooter drivers both expressed their frustrations.

Pedestrians complained of mobility scooter drivers going too fast, not looking, and thinking they had the right of way, while drivers complained of space issues, including parked cars and hedges encroaching on to the footpath.

Snr Const Bye said after the meeting she had received many complaints over a long period of time about mobility scooter usage, but there was no way of locating the drivers involved.

However, the possibility of fitting scooters with licence plates was played down by the NZTA.

''These devices are different than motor vehicles in the eyes of the law, and there is no intention to require people to obtain driver licences to use them, or to require the devices to be registered or undergo warrant of fitness checks,'' agency spokesman Andy Knackstedt said.

The ''wheeled mobility devices'' were designed to allow older people or those with disabilities to maintain their mobility, Mr Knackstedt said.

''They must be used on footpaths or, when a footpath is not easily accessible, as close to the side of the road as possible.''

There were legal requirements for the safe use of mobility scooters and a range of penalties for misuse, he said.

Operating a wheeled mobility device carelessly, inconsiderately or at a hazardous speed can result in a fine of up to $1000.

Causing a crash where someone is injured or killed could result in a criminal conviction for careless or inconsiderate use of a vehicle.

That carried a maximum punishment of three months' jail or a $4500 fine. A second meeting on the issue will be held at the Mosgiel RSA on August 26.

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