April 20, 2015 - 2:41 PM
VERNON - A Vernon woman recovering from injuries sustained when her scooter was hit by a truck was going to fight a violation ticket police handed her after the accident, but now she won’t have to.
After reviewing the Motor Vehicle Act, the RCMP is rescinding the ticket issued to Patricia Parent for entering a roadway before it was safe.
Parent, 49, suffers from osteoarthritis and can’t walk more than a block, which is why she gets around on her scooter to make medical appointments and go grocery shopping. That’s what she was doing at 2 p.m., April 15 — running an errand — but she never made it there.
“I remember seeing a truck out of my peripheral vision and I went to swerve to get around it, thinking it was going to hit me, and it did,” Parent says. “I remember banging on the hood, banging on the front grill, and the next thing I know I’m six feet away because he pushed me out into the road.”
Parent says she was crossing an alleyway on what she believed to be a continuation of the sidewalk on 30 Street when the truck came out “like a cannon ball.” She suffered a dislocated shoulder and was transported to hospital. In B.C., scooter users are considered pedestrians and are encouraged to use sidewalks whenever possible.
At the hospital, Parent says she was visited by an RCMP officer and handed a $109 fine for entering the roadway before it was safe.
“Coming into the trauma room when I was already in high stress and on painkillers, they had no business doing that. It was completely insensitive and uncalled for,” she says, adding she wants a formal apology from the RCMP.
The manual for her scooter states the machine has a maximum speed of 15 kilometres per hour, although Parent previously told police it went as fast as 30 km/hr and witnesses said she was "flying".
RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk says what happened falls in a bit of a grey area.
“She was on the sidewalk, and she’s supposed to be on the sidewalk, but she was driving fairly fast. So as a pedestrian, if you’re going across where an alley comes out, you generally would take a look to make sure it’s safe. That likely didn’t happen on her part, so she is not 100 per cent in the clear as well,” Molendyk says. “Where the grey area comes in, is we’re getting more and more scooters and some of the people on them are not taking all the precautions they should.”
It’s not the first time police have run into this type of incident. With an increasing number of scooters on roadways, Molendyk says conflicts with vehicles are growing. He estimates police have dealt with up to four similar incidents in the last five months.
Because scooters are often lower to the ground than pedestrians, Molendyk suggests installing a flag and wearing brightly coloured clothing to ensure you are seen by vehicles. But the most important thing, he says, is common sense.
“The message is look after yourself; make sure you make eye contact and look to make sure it’s safe. You need to think like a pedestrian,” Molendyk says. “I sense her frustration, but some of what I believe could have been avoided is on her part.”
Parent intends to get legal advice from a lawyer in hopes of recovering some of the costs related to her injury, damaged scooter, and inability to work.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015