Everything you need to know about choosing the right mobility scooter
A mobility scooter can make a huge difference to someone’s lifestyle if they are living with a health condition that restricts their ability to stay mobile. However, there are several important factors to consider before buying to ensure they choose the right mobility scooter for their needs.
A mobility scooter can enable someone to travel independently and offer support if they find it difficult to walk longer distances. They typically feature steering handles, a foot rest, a supportive seat and three or four wheels.
Before choosing a scooter, it’s important to know that the product meets all the person’s needs, including their level of mobility, safety and where they plan to use it. Below we highlight some of the most important questions to consider when choosing a mobility scooter to help encourage an informed decision.
Who can use a mobility scooter?
Although mobility scooters offer support to someone who cannot walk longer distances, a person should be able to walk in order to safely use a mobility scooter. They must be able to get on and off the scooter seat by themselves and will also need to consider how they can store the scooter if they are using it independently or if they will require support with storage and charging the scooter.
What are the different classes of scooters?
Mobility scooters are divided into Class 2 and Class 3 vehicles. Class 2 scooters can be used on pavements and have a top speed of 4mph, whilst Class 3 scooters can be used on the road, as well as the pavement.
Class 3 mobility scooters are larger and often more robust, with safety features like mirrors, front and rear lights and a horn which are vital features to allow them to be used on the road. They have a top speed of 8mph but must be able to travel more slowly on the pavement. The Drive Royale Scooter is an example of a Class 3 scooter and the Drive Knight Electrofold is a Class 2 scooter.
Please note you will have to register Class 3 scooters in order to drive them on the road and will have a log book as you would a car. Although insurance for mobility scooters is not a legal requirement it is recommend by the UK government and will give you protection if an accident or damage is caused by your scooter. Without insurance you will be liable for any damage caused.
How far will the user be travelling?
Mobility scooters are battery powered and there are many different models and sizes, each of which feature different maximum mileage ranges. The scooter’s mileage range is an important factor to consider, and it is beneficial to form an understanding of the average journey someone will be making to ensure they choose a mobility scooter that offers the right mileage requirements. It may also be useful to consider any longer journeys the person may want to make, to ensure the scooter has enough battery life to get them there and back.
Think about storage and travel requirements
A key question worth asking is whether someone will need to transport the mobility scooter by car. Boot scooters and folding scooters are designed to take up less space when they are not in use and are ideal for easier travel and storage. Boot scooters separate into several pieces that fit in a car boot, whereas folding scooters usually work with an automatic folding mechanism to achieve a more compact size. Both styles can be suitable if the person will need to regularly take the scooter in the boot of a vehicle. However, it’s important to note the mobility scooter will still need to be safely lifted into the car.
It’s important to choose the right wheels
Mobility scooters can feature three or four wheels and the type of wheel can determine how smooth the journey will be, dependent on terrain. Scooters with three wheels can be easier to steer in smaller spaces, but some people may prefer the added stability of having four wheels. The main types of tyres are solid and pneumatic, with pneumatic often being preferred for a smoother ride over rougher, outdoor surfaces due to the suspension they offer.
Additional features and accessories can make all the difference
As well as looking at the main features of a mobility scooter, it’s helpful to see if there are any additional features, such as a basket, adjustable seat or head rest which could be especially beneficial to the person using it. Most mobility scooters have their own design and are often available in different colours, enabling someone to choose a scooter with the right features and a design they enjoy. Accessories can make a world of difference, with items such as a scooter storage cover and scooter bag making every day easier and helping to protect the mobility aid when it isn’t in use.
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- April 2nd 2019