Nationals back push to lower speed limit on mobility scooters to 6kph

Nationals back push to lower speed limit on mobility scooters to 6kph

Nationals back push to lower speed limit on mobility scooters to 6kph

Updated 11 September 2017, 0:05 AEST

A Nationals senator's push to reduce the speed limit on mobility scooters to 6 kilometres per hour has been endorsed at the party's federal conference, but a disability advocate warns it's a "dangerous" policy that would make it difficult for riders to cross roads safely.

A Nationals senator says he has secured overwhelming support at the party's federal conference to push for mobility scooters to be speed limited to 6 kilometres per hour.

At the same time a celebration of the scooters has taken place in Queensland's Hervey Bay, with 77 mobility scooter drivers and wheelchair riders taking to the streets of the coastal city as part of an annual convoy this weekend.

One rider decked out her mobility scooter in a tribute to garden gnomes, complete with turf, and her own gnome costume.

The convoy has been in action for the past 10 years, as a way to bring drivers together and promote safe practices.

Senator John Williams is pushing for the speed limit to be dropped from the current 10kph, or jogging pace, down to walking pace after his wife was seriously injured in a footpath collision with a scooter.

On Sunday, he put a successful motion to the Nationals federal conference calling for the lower speed limit and for a maximum tare weight of 150 kilograms for the scooters.

Senator Williams argued the drivers do not need a licence, insurance or medical checks to ensure they are physically and mentally well enough to be behind the wheel, and the lower speed limit would reduce the risk of accidents.

Motions endorsed at the Nationals conference help form party policy, and Senator Williams has had great influence in other policy areas in the past including in relation to shonky banking practices.

Convoy organiser warns against lower speed limit

One of the organisers of the Hervey Bay convoy and member of the local Safe Scooter Committee, Julie de Waard, said the lower speed limit endorsed at the Nationals conference was "dangerous".

She warned restricting the speed limit to 6kph would make it difficult for riders to cross roads safely.

"They wouldn't get anywhere, at 10kph crossing a road is already dangerous," she said.

"More important than speed is educating people."

She argued the more sensible regulation to pursue was helmets for scooter users.

"I personally think helmets should also be considered," she said.

She called on Senator Williams to consult more widely with mobility scooter riders about the best way to ensure the roads and footpaths are safe for pedestrians and motorists.

She warned strengthening regulations could also be very costly to governments.

"Governments would then need to find other ways to get people around, like improving public transport in regional areas," she said.