Driver warning after car hits wheelchair

A sedan knocked an elderly man off his electric wheelchair in Colac.

A sedan knocked an elderly man off his electric wheelchair in Colac.

A ROAD safety advocate has warned motorists to take extra care at a central Colac intersection after a car hit an electric wheelchair on a pedestrian crossing.

Roadsafe Otway chairman Cliff McAliece said the crash was the second similar crash at the intersection of Murray and Corangamite streets in eight months.

But Mr McAliece said the risk of crashes could increase at the busy corner this week.

He said more traffic was likely at the intersection because of a planned part-closure of Gellibrand Street.

Friday’s crash involved a man in his 80s who was crossing Murray Street at the pedestrian lights when a grey sedan struck his electric wheelchair.

The sedan was turning right into Murray Street from Corangamite Street but the driver failed to see the man.

Witnesses helped direct traffic until police arrived and an ambulance took the man, who had head injuries, to Colac Hospital for observation on Friday.

First Constable Toby Morel of Colac police said the crash dislodged the man from his wheelchair.

“He was off the wheelchair when we arrived; he was crossing on the green light and the car just didn’t see him,” Const Morel said.

“The male was taken to Colac Hospital for a routine check.”

Police will issue the driver of the grey sedan with an infringement notice.

A similar incident happened at the same intersection eight months ago, when a car crashed into a 76-year-old woman on a mobility scooter.

The woman also suffered head injuries and an ambulance took her to hospital.

“It’s a key intersection in Colac and it would possibly have the largest amount of traffic going through it and as well as these crashes with a scooter and wheelchair, I don’t know how many near-misses with pedestrians I’ve seen at that corner,” Mr McAliece said.

“And with what’s going to happen this week with the part-closure of Gellibrand Street to upgrade the taxi rank, there’s going to be even more traffic and more confusion at the Corangamite Street corner,” he said.

“There’s a lot of things happening all at once at that intersection and driver distraction is something that’s very much a problem; it’s not that long ago we had a woman drive straight through the intersection because she didn’t notice it had traffic lights.

“Motorists must be aware and realise they must give way to pedestrians, and scooters and wheelchairs are pedestrians.”

Mr McAliece also said people with scooters or wheelchairs should wear high-visibility clothing and have flags on their mobility aids to help motorists see them.

One Response to “Driver warning after car hits wheelchair”

  1. juggy

    I know for a fact that the sun that morning seemed super bright and it was hard to see if you were travelling North especially, well north east to be precise. Also, if ya look into the history of accidents on that corner, many of them have be in that direction in the mornings.
    Maybe the traffic lights should give time for pedestrians before they change to green for vehicles, may help reduce accidents.