OUR VIEW: Town in the driver’s seat

Having an idea rejected by your peers hasn’t deterred Sidney from supporting initiatives to promote scooter safety in the community

Having an idea rejected by your peers hasn’t deterred the Town of Sidney from supporting initiatives to promote scooter safety in the community.

Town councillors and the mayor recently took part in the Sidney All Care scooter rodeo, designed to teach people the rules of the road when they are out and about on their mobility device. They were keen to learn more about the devices — which are used by quite a few residents.

In the fall, Mayor Larry Cross went to the Union of B.C. Municipalities conference seeking support for a scooter licensing system across the province. Cross said at the time he was bringing the issue forward due to safety concerns over sidewalk use and scooters being driven on local roads.

Most delegates at that convention rejected the notion of licensing motorized scooters, while acknowledging more education is needed among users.

To that end, local politicians got on board a few of the scooters for a short tour around town. It was a fun event, designed to teach people how to drive better and to navigate obstacles that aren’t generally noticed by other people.

The event could be written off as a publicity event but that would be short-sighted.

It was a chance to get to know the issue on a more personal level and to hear directly from scooter owners what local issues are.

They are probably happy they won’t have to pay new licensing fees but they are certainly aware of the challenges of getting around town and elsewhere in a safe manner.

It would have been easy for the mayor to put the issue of scooter safety on the shelf after the UBCM rejection. It’s clear the council as a whole thinks it’s still an important community matter and put their butts in the seats of those who use the machines to be able to get outside and run their daily errands.

For many people, having a scooter gives them the independence and mobility that they once had when they could drive a vehicle. For others, it is and has been the only way for them to get around.

As the community continues to get older, there could potentially be more scooters on the streets, interacting with other pedestrians — and even other vehicles.

Through education like the scooter rodeo, local leaders are recognizing that riders, drivers and walkers need to co-exist.

Being in the driver’s seat on the issue gives them the proper perspective to see what the obstacles are and how they might be fixed.