Letter to the Editor: Scooter safety

Editor: The Battie family would like to tell scooter users and their loved ones about the dangers of riding scooters on the hills of Ladysmith.The scooter manual advises that scooters should not be used on inclines of more than a 15 per cent grade. But who really knows the “grade” of the hills that they’re on. In Ladysmith, that does not mean you have many safe choices in order to get to downtown from 4th Avenue (Maybe Methuen?). It also does not say what will happen if you do and it does malfunction. In the following story you will learn that it may not just mean your device will break down sooner than expected, but that it could have a significant malfunction causing severe injury and possibly death.On May 6 of this year, 81-year-old Ron Battie was travelling from Third Avenue to Second Avenue using High Street. Almost immediately after starting his descent on the hill, the scooter malfunctioned and began picking up speed at an alarming rate. He released the handle, which is supposed to automatically stop the machine, but the brakes did not work. So he continued gathering speed down High Street until a bump in the sidewalk projected him forwards off the scooter landing on his head and hands as the scooter crashed over top of him. Some workers at the construction site across the road saw what happened and had their first aid attendant run over to Ron and called 911. Ron was taken to Nanaimo Hospital for a CT scan and X-rays.In the end, Ron suffered some very serious scrapes and road rash across his hands, face and head and sporadically throughout the rest of his body. He broke his hand and one vertebrae, which has caused him significant back pain in the weeks since the accident. He was very lucky! In addition, if he wasn’t thrown from the scooter so high up on the hill and was lower down with more acceleration his injuries would doubtlessly be much more serious. (Unfortunately, Ron did not want his photograph after the accident put in the paper due to the graphic content.) We would like to express our deepest thanks to the construction workers on High Street, the first aid attendant, and the ambulance attendants who were with Ron on that day. We know the outcome of this accident would have been significantly worse without you all.We would really like to warn all scooter users that even though, as with Ron, a hill of more than a 15 per cent grade may be ridden on the scooter with no problem, this gives a false sense of security and if the scooter malfunctions when you’re on that hill, you will most likely be severely harmed. Battie FamilyLadysmith