Mobility scooters – sidewalks or roads? Both?

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In 2011, an elderly gentleman in a mobility scooter was accidently struck by a car in Lindsay and later died from his injuries. With the increased amount “Scooters” on our roadways, we felt it important to review what could be done to help prevent this from happening again.

We consulted with the Kawartha Lakes Accessibility Advisory Committee (KLAAC), Safe Communities Kawartha Lakes (SCKL) and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Kawartha Lakes Detachment about what could be done. Amending an existing bylaw to regulate the safe use of Personal Mobility Devices was considered, however all agencies felt that the existing law as found in the Highway Traffic Act is sufficient.

That law can be found in the Highway Traffic Act in section 179.  (1) Titled “Duties of pedestrian when walking along highway”. It states “Where sidewalks are not provided on a highway, a pedestrian walking along the highway shall walk on the left side thereof facing oncoming traffic and, when walking along the roadway, shall walk as close to the left edge thereof as possible.” Note: the Act’s definition of a pedestrian includes a person in a wheelchair or scooter (excerpts attached).

Prior to commencing enforcement of the law, we discussed at length about how to effectively communicate what the law actually is and in conjunction with the agencies consulted launched a public awareness campaign in August.

A sidewalk should be the first choice for someone using a wheelchair or medical scooter. When there is no wheelchair accessible curb, the person should return to the sidewalk at the first available opportunity. If there is no sidewalk available or useable, people using wheelchairs or personal mobility devices should travel, like pedestrians, along the left shoulder of the roadway facing oncoming traffic.

Article from the Lindsay Post: http://www.thepost.ca/2012/08/30/operating-scooters-on-road-now-against-law 

MTO web site: http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/vehicle/emerging/index.shtml

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