EDITOR’S NOTE: We asked Wess Winn, community services officer and crime prevention coordinator with the Waxahachie Police Department to write a weekly column in an effort to answer many of the law enforcement-related questions posed by our readers. Here’s this week’s column.
Cars and bicycles have the street and pedestrians have sidewalk, so what does this leave for people have a physical disability and ride a “motorized mobility device?”
The Texas transportation code (542.009) gives us the law but there are a few safety concerns I will express.
The law state these devices have three or more wheels, is propelled by a battery powered motor, does not have more than one forward gear and cannot exceed speeds of over eight miles per hour. The motorized mobility devices are considered to be pedestrians.
This means the operator has to treat it just like he or she was on foot. Pedestrians have to use the sidewalk, when one is available or go against the flow of traffic if a sidewalk is not available. They have to cross the road at intersections and any other things a pedestrian might do.
There are many sidewalks which this device would not have access to because of the shape the sidewalks are in or because there is not an access ramp. In this case you would have to use the roadway, but make sure you go against the flow of traffic.
For safety purposes those people who operate these machines, need to get a large safety flag placed on the device so they can be seen by vehicles.
Mobility devices have a lower profile which makes it difficult for vehicle operators to observe them, so anything operators of the mobility devices can do to be seen is better for them and their safety.
We have pushed the Citizens Police Academy start date back until March 6. Please go to our website www.waxahachiepd.org/ and download an application or email Officer Winn at email@example.com.
FYI-You can now text a tip to Crime Stoppers by sending your tip to 274637 (CRIMES) then type Hachie (space) tip.
Wess Winn holds a master peace officer certification. If you have a Police Beat question for Officer Wess Winn, he may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 469-309-4410. Look for your questions to be answered here in the Waxahachie Daily Light every Sunday or listen to officer Winn’s show on KBEC Radio AM 1390 at 9 a.m. every Monday.