John Noonan has slammed a council push to reduce the speed limit for mobility scooters. Picture: Josh Woning/AAP
John Noonan has slammed a council push to reduce the speed limit for mobility scooters. Picture: Josh Woning/AAP

Our next battleground after drivers v cyclists?

A MOBILITY scooter rider who has had three accidents in the past 12 years claims that it is distracted pedestrians glued to their mobile phones who are the real menace on footpaths.

Chermside's John Noonan, who has chronic arthritis, has come out swinging against Brisbane City Council moves to reduce the speed limit for mobility scooters from 10km/h to 6km/h.

Even while Mr Noonan was ­discussing his experiences with The Courier-Mail yesterday, pedestrians on phones blocked the footpath and were oblivious to him.

"On one occasion, a lady was walking and talking to her friend, I was stationary, and she walked straight into me," he said.

"People should be aware that there are mobility scooters around.

"Some of them blame me, but I have my hands up like that (in a surrender gesture)."

Mr Noonan said reducing scooters' speeds was not only wrong, but impossible to police.

"There is a lack of understanding about mobility scooters, their purpose and safety features," he said.

"They give you quality of life. Without it, I'd be stuffed. I couldn't even go across the road to go shopping."

John Noonan on his mobility scooter at Chermside yesterday. Picture: Josh Woning/AAP
John Noonan on his mobility scooter at Chermside yesterday. Picture: Josh Woning/AAP

Mr Noonan was dismayed when he saw Brisbane city councillor Amanda Cooper's comments that scooters should be limited to 6km/h in pedestrian zones and a new process be used to monitor users' physical and cognitive ability.

"There is cowboys riding these, there's cowboys riding cars, there's cowboys riding bikes," he said.

Meanwhile, a wounded war veteran has called for a ban on mobility scooters ridden by able-bodied people too lazy to walk.

Brisbane man David Sumner, who has two spinal implants from a Vietnam War injury, said he had been hit several times by people riding mobility scooters in pedestrian areas.

"Their usual remark when I tell them to slow down and be ­observant is 'you don't know what it's like to be disabled'," he said.

"I usually bite my tongue, but I have occasionally shown them my Queensland Transport pass for totally and permanently disabled veterans and that quickly shuts them up from further abuse.''

The council recommendations come amid a parliamentary investigation into the safety of the devices after the wife of ­Nationals senator John Williams was struck by one on a footpath, leaving her in need of a hip replacement.



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