• Watch: Mobility scooter riders take the training wheels off

Watch: Mobility scooter riders take the training wheels off

The batteries were charged, tyres pumped, flags fluttering and it was time to hit the road last week when residents at Summerset in the Vines in Havelock North took part in a free mobility scooter training

Organised by Safer Hastings partners to help raise awareness and prevent injuries from mobility scooter falls and accidents, about 15 people took advantage of the opportunity to both socialise and gain more confidence on their rides.

Mobility Centre personnel gave their time for free to help instruct and test the scooters’ roadworthiness, along with Police, Safer Hastings, Age Concern Havelock North, and Hastings District Council
transportation team representatives.

Starting with a loop around the residential facility, the riders then went out onto the footpath of Te Mata Road for a jaunt down to the Four Square where the owner kindly came out with lemonade iceblocks for the travellers.

Safer Hastings chair Eileen Lawson said the exercise was designed for people who did not have a lot of experience riding a scooter, and a refresher for those who were more used to it, along with some
maintenance tips.

“Up to 80 per cent of mobility scooter owners at Summerset in the Vines have got them second-hand so they don’t get any training on how to use them.

“We’re running this day as a pilot with the hope that it will give scooter users more confidence, and ultimately independence – making it safer and easier for them to get out and about on the footpaths.”

Age Concern Havelock North manager Carol Winters says that with the roads becoming increasingly busy around the district, it was really valuable to spend the time to make people feel safer on their scooters.

“If we can help them gain confidence, there are so many benefits - it gets them out of their house and immediate environment and helps them remain connected with others and to socialise.”

Summerset in the Vines resident Judy Clarkson was one of the first in the complex to get a scooter and is already pretty used to it.

“I love it – I’ve got a bad back and find walking pretty difficult – I use the scooter a lot and others have been watching me getting around and thought ‘that’s what I need’.”