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Scooters targeted in safety drive

Mar 17 2012

Clifford Allan Schmidt has been identified as the 78-year-old man killed Wednesday when his mobility scooter collided with a car in Nanaimo.

Nanaimo RCMP said Schmidt had unexpectedly steered across the roadway before he was hit. He died a short time later in hospital.

Police do not anticipate laying charges.

Nanaimo RCMP Sgt. Gary O'Brien said the detachment's traffic unit and Nanaimo's bylaw office are organizing a scooter rally for the spring.

"It was planned prior to this accident," O'Brien said. "It's an educational event. It will be about awareness, rules of the road."

He said recommendations for users of scooters like the one operated by Schmidt, which are technically called motorized wheelchairs, include having reflective material on the vehicle and being aware of surroundings.

ICBC spokeswoman Michelle Hargrave said scooter-users should think like a pedestrian.

"They are to be treated just like a pedestrian, so they can be on sidewalks, walkways, crosswalks and paths, but not on the road," she said. "They don't need registration or a licence or insurance or anything like that."

Hargrave suggested that scooter users move at the same speed as pedestrian traffic, make eye contact with drivers before crossing the road, and use extra caution at driveways and laneways.

The Nanaimo tragedy follows a similar death in early January, when a 70-year-old man died in hospital after being struck by a car Dec. 28 while riding his scooter along Foul Bay Road. jwbell@timescolonist.com

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