Active Re-Entry goes national with Scoodeo
Active Re-Entry in conjunction with the Southeastern Utah District Health Department has developed a motorized scooter training program that will finally gain national recognition this year. Representatives from both agencies will present their Scoodeo program at the National Lifesavers Conference.
A DVD developed for the group by Darrin Teply, gives an overview of the program and begins by asking the question, "what if you suddenly found yourself having to use an electric mobility device as your only form of transportation, in a rural area with no public transportation and old or non-existent side walks?"
As the question is asked, Active Re-Entry volunteer and advocate Kellie Criswell talks about how she was given no training when she initially was given her electric scooter and almost instantly tore the ligaments out of one of her feet.
Criswell says that she got involved with the program because she didn't want anyone else to have to go through the growing pains she did. She wants her fellow riders to be safe.
According to SEUDHD Community Health Educator Georgina Nowak, the program has been trying to gain national attention for years now.
"As more and more baby boomers have started to have issues with mobility the need for personal mobility scooters has increased dramatically," she said. "And as far as the Castle Valley goes, we have no public transportation to help those with mobility issues making the problem that much worse."
The importance of the individuals in question having an independent mode of transportation is paramount, explained Nancy Bentley, Active Re-Entry director.
"These scooters really help those with mobilization problems to become independent and have active social and vocational lives," pointed out the director.
The members of the local group will be sharing their presentation time at the lifesavers conference with a federal representative from the national transportation department.
"This is a pedestrian issue," said Bentley. "Many people don't realize that the scooters are meant to go against traffic. And we need to make the public aware that these scooters are going to be on the streets in increasing numbers and need to be watched for and treated with respect."
The members of the group also discussed the need for scooter riders to conduct safe practices while on the street in order to make themselves more visible to Carbon County motorists.
"We provide every scooter rider with a free flag, helmet and reflective vest for visibility," said Bentley. "From there, we work on education to help those with new scooters to deal with real life situation out on the streets."
According to the disc, the Scoodeo program was launched when Active Re-Entry staff started to notice an elevation in the number of motor vehicle and electric scooter collisions occurring in the community.
Advocate volunteer Criswell then became actively involved with the Price planning commission, including city engineer Gary Sonntag.
The engineer and commission aided her in making sure that the group's participants were safe in areas of passage for electric scooters in most parts of the municipality.
The advocate volunteer also worked with the Utah Department of Transportation to install push button light controls moved to a lower level so that the individuals operating on all types of electric scooters were able to reach the apparatus.
"I just would like everyone to know what a huge deal it is that we are getting this program recognized at a national level," said Bentley. "Most of the people who have scooters don't even have drivers licenses so they don't understand basic traffic rules. It is imperative that they get this training."
With more than 10 percent of the nations population facing some type of disability it is hugely important that we get this issue out there, continued Bentley.
According to Active Re-Entry officials, more than 200 individuals have a disability that impairs movement in the Carbon County area alone.
Additional program information and many community based resources are available at Active Re-Entry.
For more information, Carbon County residents may contact the Active Re-Entry office at 637-4950.