Council Receives Public Input on Wheelchair Ordinance

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BEN_5845_420x280_thumbBy Terry Rogers

On Monday, November 25, Milford City Council heard from concerned citizens regarding the need to require safety features on motorized wheelchairs throughout the city. Mayor Ronnie Rogers introduced changes to Ordinance 2013-13, Chapter 84 that would require motorized scooters and wheelchairs to be equipped with red safety flags, slow-moving vehicle reflective triangles, lights, red reflectors on the rear and reflectors on each side of the device.

“I come to you as a concerned citizen regarding the need for safety devices on motorized scooters and wheelchairs,” said Franklin Fountain. “As you know, we can’t hold anything against those who need to use these motorized wheelchairs since we are healthy and can get anywhere we want. These people depend on the wheelchair for their mobility. We have been very fortunate in Milford that we have not had any calls or accidents with those in wheelchairs. However, I almost got in an accident with one while riding through town at night with no lights on.” Mr. Fountain also expressed concern for the cost of the installation of the safety features as he felt that some of those who needed the wheelchairs for mobility may not be financially stable enough to install the devices.

“Anyone who has a motorized wheelchair can come to City Hall and have the wheelchair outfitted at the expense of the Rotary Club,” said Councilman Skip Pikus. “The Rotary Club is providing funds to add all the safety features necessary to get all motorized wheelchairs in Milford outfitted.” Councilwoman Katrina Wilson also asked Mr. Fountain if he would help council by identifying those that needed safety features installed.

“If you can help in approaching them to make that a smoother transition for them and to let them know it is free to them, at no cost, in order to give them the comfort zone that they may need, that would be a significant help to council,” Ms. Wilson said. Mr. Fountain said that he would do all that he could to get the word out to those who use the wheelchairs.

The ordinance states that during daylight hours, motorized wheelchairs and scooters must have a slow-moving vehicle fluorescent triangle on the rear of the device or a red safety flag. At night, all motorized scooters and wheelchairs must have a light that illuminates the front of the vehicle and is visible from 300 feet, as well as red reflectors on the rear of the device. There must also be white, yellow or red reflectors on each side of the device that is visible from a distance of at least 200 feet.

There are penalties included in the ordinance as well, with a written warning issued for the first offense, and fines that increase with each additional offense. The amounts of the fines are still to be determined before council votes on the ordinance change at the next meeting.

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