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Milford Beacon
  • City council considers ordinance for wheelchair safety and visibility

  • Milford City Council is proposing an ordinance requiring electric wheelchairs and unlicensed scooters to display a red flag during the day and proper reflective materials at night to ensure the safety of those using the devices as well as local motorists.
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  • Milford City Council is proposing an ordinance requiring electric wheelchairs and unlicensed scooters to display a red flag during the day and proper reflective materials at night to ensure the safety of those using the devices as well as local motorists.
    During a workshop session after the regular city council meeting Monday night, council members discussed the stipulations of the ordinance and how they would approach enforcing the new safety regulations. Electric wheelchairs and unlicensed scooters will be required to display a red flag at all times, a light on the front of the device and reflective material on the back of the device to ensure visibility during night-time travel.
    “It’s imperative we do something,” said Councilman Allen S. “Skip” Pikus, who mentioned that he was nearly in an accident involving an electric wheelchair attempting to cross the railroad tracks on South Walnut Street. “We don’t have that many, but we have to protect our citizens in wheelchairs.”
    The ordinance is similar to the requirements placed on bicycles for night-time travel, although the reflective material required for electric wheelchairs and scooters will be set at a visibility distance of 300 feet instead of a bicycle’s 600-foot requirement.
    There will also be an added provision to the ordinance that allows electric wheelchairs and scooters to travel on sidewalks.
    City Council plans to partner with local clubs and organizations to address those in need of visibility equipment, which City Solicitor David Rutt said would cost up to $45 per device.
    Milford resident Sam Harris, who requires an electric wheelchair for transportation due to limited mobility, said he was comfortable with the ordinance, as it would help him equip his device for safer travel.
    “It would be safer for me,” Harris said. “[The manufacturers] should have already built the chairs with lights.”
    While Harris said he avoids traveling after dusk, sometimes he must, and on a fixed income, the support of the city and local organizations would be welcome help in properly equipping his chair with reflective materials.
    The next step is for the city solicitor to complete writing the ordinance, which will then be presented to City Council for a vote at a future council meeting.
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