Why do oldies behind the wheel of a car drive like they’ve all the time in the world, yet plop ‘em in a mobility scooter in the vicinity of a shopping centre and it’s pedal to the metal and bugger the consequences? You’d swear the Grim Reaper’s hot on their tails with his icy fingers extended.
If you’re lucky enough to be out of harm’s way when they flash by, all you’re likely to see is a blue-rinse blur or flapping of ancient ears.
Granted, age has its privileges. Mowing down pedestrians isn’t one of them.A friend recently became a victim. She was enjoying a stroll along a local boardwalk when she heard the deafening din of what she believed was a whipper snipper. She turned just in time to see Father Time bearing down on her at warp speed perched atop his mobility scooter-of-death. “It was like a bizarre dream – a scene from Pop Gear starring one Geriatric Clarkson,” was how she described it.
And not only was this ancient geezer riding like a reckless fool, he had his walking stick protruding from the front à la Sir Lancelot ready to disembowel any poor mums who might be foolish enough to bend over in front of him in attempts to retrieve their child’s dummy.
Anyway, to cut a short story shorter, the ageing hoon attempted to overtake my friend in the right lane of the one lane boardwalk, but succeeded only in taking a detour over her right foot thereby crushing it. He stopped just long enough to apologise for breaking her shoe. But didn’t seem too concerned about any damage he might have caused to her foot.
Fortunately she escaped with nothing more than severe bruising and a weeklong limp. The old fella escaped unscathed and roared off into the sunset (sadly one of the last he’s likely to witness according to my friend who reckons he must have been pushing 100 – both in years and kilometres per hour).
And this isn’t an isolated incident. Just the other day I had my own encounter. I’d emerged from the lolly aisle into the freezer section at my local Coles when, bugger me, barrelling towards me on her mobility scooter was none other than Granny Turismo hunched over her handlebars with a crazed look in her bespectacled eyes. Acutely aware of the consequences of doing nothing, I managed to do a quickstep and escaped injury.
For the briefest of moments I’d also contemplated reaching out and seizing one of the wind socks flapping from the rear of her cart in an attempt to slow her down. I’m glad I didn’t because when she screeched to a halt at the half-price arrowroot biscuit stand I noted they weren’t windsocks at all – they were her breasts which’d been trailing along behind her in the slipstream, such was the speed she was travelling.
Finally, before you accuse me of being ageist, it might interest you to know the ACCC and NRMA have this year launched a national survey into mobility scooter safety – see the story here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-02-10/mobility-scooters-safety-scrutinised/3823166. So I’m not alone in my concerns.