Legislative Council

QUESTION: Disability mobility vehicles

October 24th, 2018

On the 24th of October, Mark asked the Minister for Human Services a question about disability mobility vehicles.

The Hon. M.C. PARNELL: I have been contacted by a constituent who is concerned about current legal restrictions on the use of small-wheeled electric-powered vehicles. My constituent has epilepsy, which means that he cannot get a driver's licence. He appreciates that he is allowed to use a four-wheeled disability mobility vehicle, such as what are described as disability scooters or Gophers, but he points out that it is illegal to ride other battery-powered vehicles, such as Segways, stand-up electric scooters or electric skateboards, on South Australian roads, footpaths and bicycle paths.

Just to check that what my constituent told me was accurate, I have had a look at the My Licence website. Under the question and answer section, the question, 'Can I ride a motorised wheeled recreational device on a road, footpath or bike track?' the answer provided is:

No. These devices cannot be used on roads or road related areas such as foot paths, bike/pedestrian tracks, or vehicle parking areas.

Under South Australian legislation, these devices are considered to be motor vehicles. Operating a motor vehicle requires a driver's licence, registration and compulsory third party insurance.

These devices do not meet the safety standards under the Australian Design Rules and they are not eligible for registration.

My constituent advises that he is keen to match his need for transport with environmentally friendly options, such as electric-powered small-wheeled vehicles.

My question of the minister is:

Is the minister able to look into this issue and see whether law reform is needed to increase the mobility options for people whose disabilities prevent them from driving cars but who are otherwise fit enough to use other electric-powered mobility options? I remind the minister that we as a parliament did manage to legalise and regulate electric-powered bicycles some time ago.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (Minister for Human Services): I thank the honourable member for his questions, which I think are very good questions. I can understand the difficulty that there probably is for people with particular mobility challenges. In relation to the terminology for some of the vehicles that he referred to, as in scooters and Gophers, we used to refer to them interchangeably in a former professional position, but Gopher is the proprietary name and scooter is the generic one. But they are very good questions, and they may well be under the purview of the Minister for Transport, and I will certainly undertake to get some information on the honourable member's behalf. If he has a particular constituent he would also like to refer to us, then we can make contact with that individual. So, yes, I will certainly take those questions on notice and get a response.

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