Courses aim to enhance road safety for older people


Photo: File image / Getty
Photo: File image / Getty
Courses aimed at ensuring older Cantabrians are safe on the roads are being held over the next month.

Age Concern South Canterbury is running the courses - one for mobility scooter users and another for drivers - to enhance confidence and promote road safety.

Manager Chris Thomas said the free training opportunities were important to help older people stay safe and independent on the road.

‘‘Our goal is to empower older people to live life to the fullest while ensuring their safety and wellbeing. These refresher courses offer valuable knowledge and practical skills that can make a real difference.’’

A mobility scooter safety course was held today at the Wilson St Baptist Church Hall. Held in conjunction with South Canterbury Road Safety and Heartland Mobility, it aimed to equip participants with essential skills for safe mobility scooter operation.

‘‘Most drivers and mobility scooter operators are not aware of the regulations about scooter use. For instance, you don’t need a licence to operate a mobility scooter, and scooters should be used on the footpath rather than the road,’’ Mr Thomas said.

Erin Farrant regularly rides her mobility scooter to Age Concern’s Friday Club. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Erin Farrant regularly rides her mobility scooter to Age Concern’s Friday Club. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Attendees will be guided by instructor Robyn Willis, who will cover the fundamentals of mobility scooter usage, including riding regulations, scooter maintenance, charging procedures and safety measures.

Participants will also have the chance to assess their skills on an obstacle course designed to simulate real riding situations.

Mr Thomas said the course was suitable for all scooter owners, not just older people.

‘‘It is for anyone that has a scooter or might be thinking about getting a scooter. It will be a good chance to get information on selecting the right scooter to meet your needs and try some out. So, if you have a partner or older parent that may need a scooter some time in the future, then this is for you.’’

Free Staying Safe refresher driving courses for older drivers will be held tomorrow (April 11) at Knox Church Hall in Waimate; at the Wilson Street Baptist Church in Timaru on Friday (April 12); and on May 23 at the Community Hall in Fairlie.

Also delivered by Robyn Willis, the course will provide a comprehensive review of road rules, road safety and careful driving practices.

‘‘These courses are designed to help older people to stay safe and independent on the road. If you are coming up for a licence renewal or maybe someone else does most of the driving because you are not that confident behind the wheel, then this is perfect for you.’’

The classroom course will help participants re-familiarise themselves with the latest road rules and other transport options to help stay independent for longer.

By Claire Allison