The Queensland road rules
A person with a mobility impairment who uses a wheelchair or mobility scooter is considered to be a pedestrian under the Queensland road rules.
By law, wheelchairs or mobility scooters used by people with a mobility impairment can go anywhere a pedestrian can go, such as footpaths, shopping centres and nature strips.
Road rules that apply to pedestrians also apply to wheelchair and mobility scooter users. These are:
Footpaths: Wheelchairs and mobility scooters can be used on footpaths, bicycle paths, shared paths and nature strips (such as grass verges between the footpath and the road). Footpaths must be used wherever possible to avoid riding on the road.
On the road: You must not use your wheelchair or mobility scooter on the road in the same way as a car.
A wheelchair or mobility scooter can only be taken on the road if there is no footpath, pathway or nature strip available, and only where a pedestrian is allowed to walk.
If you do need to use the road, stay as close as possible to the side of the road, and travel in the opposite direction to traffic so you have good visibility.
If you need to cross a road, always cross at the safest possible point. Use pedestrian crossings, traffic lights or refuge islands if available. You must obey all traffic signals intended for pedestrians.
Safety tips on footpaths and roads
- Travel at a speed suitable to the conditions.
- Use streets with footpaths or other off-road pathways, where possible.
- Try to avoid hilly routes if an alternative route is available because these use more power and may be more difficult to navigate safely.
- Make turns slowly.
- Approach ramps and kerbs head-on.
- Be careful around parked cars.
- Be aware that your smaller size often makes you less visible.
- If you have a battery power gauge, be mindful that the second half of the battery is drained more quickly than the first half. As visibility on roads and paths is often poor at night, try and make sure pedestrians and motorists can see you.
- Wear brightly coloured clothes.
- Display a white light at the front, a red light at the back and reflectors for times when there is less daylight.
For more information, read the ‘Help Cut Mobility Scooter Accidents’ booklet by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, available at www.productsafety.gov.au (and searching for ‘help cut mobility scooter accidents’).
You should keep your wheelchair or mobility scooter in good repair and do maintenance regularly. Before each trip, check it over:
- Is it in safe working order?
- Are the tyres pumped up?
- Are the brakes functioning properly?
- Are all the lights and indicators working?
- Is your battery fully charged?
If you have a motorised device, make sure the battery is fully charged. A flat battery can make it difficult to climb a ramp and board public transport unassisted. As well, a flat battery may leave you stranded.
RACQ offers an Emergency Wheelchair Breakdown Service throughout Queensland if you do break down and some retailers offer a ‘recovery’ service when you buy a mobility device from them.