Yes, some people probably should have a licence to drive their motorized wheelchairs, but there are also people on bikes, skateboards and even people walking and texting who are hazards on the sidewalk.
The notion of licensing people who use a motorized chair or small mobility scooter to get around should be quickly dismissed when it is debated at the UBCM next month.
Sidney Mayor Larry Cross says his town is proposing the resolution for discussion at the annual gathering of B.C. municipalities in the hope other communities will agree it is important enough to recommend the province take action.
He says regulation of those using the mechanized units to traverse the sidewalk is necessary for “the safety of all motorists, businesses and pedestrians.”
But when is the last time the security of a business was threatened by someone in a scooter? In Kamloops, the only mechanized mobility unit-versus-business conflict we’ve heard of is people driving cars through storefront windows.
Motorists, in several-thousand pound vehicles, have nothing to fear from someone in an electric-powered chair weighing in at a couple hundred pounds.
If there is ever an issue between a motorized wheelchair and automobile, it’s the scooter driver who is at risk, not the other way around.
So let’s set the idea that driving on the sidewalk is a safety issue for anyone beyond the wheelchair user aside.
We do agree it’s important for people using a motorized wheelchair or small scooter to understand how to safely operate their powered unit.
But that is something that scrupulous vendors of such products already provide, so regulating training is unnecessary.
Those selling powered chairs want to ensure their product fits with the user and will encourage those considering one buying one to try several times before buying.
Depending on the situation, an occupational therapist may also be involved with guiding such a purchase.
The UBCM convention is a great place for municipalities to share and debate issues that affect them. But adding a level of bureaucracy to police people needing mechanized mobility assistance is not an issue worthy of advancing to the province for consideration.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by publisher Tim Shoults, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.