A mobility scooter is basically a vehicle designed for a person sitting upright. You can call it a hybrid between a motor scooter and a motorized wheelchair. It comes with the comfort of a wheelchair and the higher speeds of a scooter. (Of course you won't travel as fast as a scooter-that would be dangerous). Usually you can clock up to 8mph, but on pavements go at a milder 4mph.
Is a Mobility Scooter for you?
Impaired mobility can happen to anyone. Be it from an illness or injury or a condition that prevents you from being unable to walk without aid. It can be temporal or permanent. Such situations range from fractures and obesity to even paralysis and amputations. First you should know that there are a number of devices out there to help with the mobility, like crutches, wheelchairs and knee scooters.
Mobile scooters are basically for anyone with limited mobility who wants to move around more easily. And we're not talking just around the backyard. Long and short journeys to friends and family within distance. If you want to visit your local mall or get around town, go for it. So if you:
- require help with your mobility;
- get tired of walking short distances;
- feel pain for walking over those short distances or;
- you're strong enough not to need a wheelchair,
…you can get yourself a terrific deal with a mobility scooter.
Sure mobile scooters are popular, but they are a bit pricy. But if you've decided on getting one, let's help you pick the right one for you.
Things to Consider when Buying a Mobility Scooter
Like any other product in the market, they come in different shapes, sizes, and price tags. So it all boils down to:
i. Type of Scooter
ii. The weight and size of your body
iii. Storage facilities
iv. Where you plan on making your journeys
v. The terrain of the places you'll be travelling
vi. and of course, your budget.
Types of Mobility Scooters
Boot Scooters/ Travel Scooters
Small and pavement-only. These are pretty convenient. You can fold or take them apart for transporting. This comes in handy if you have access to a car but still want something for the short distance when you reach your destination.
About the folding and taking apart: the boot scooters that allow you to fold them can be compacted and wheeled just like a trolley (good news for the air travelers). The ones for taking apart allow you to dismantle them into 4 or 5 sections. The heaviest piece weighs as much as 30 pounds. You can them move the sections around independently.
The boot scooters are the less powerful variety of mobile scooters, and are preferably meant for short journeys. By the way, you can also use them indoors.
Class 2 Scooters
These ones can travel on both pavements and in shopping areas. They are not for the highways! They are cheaper, smaller and lighter, and can come with any number of wheels from 3 to 5. Even if they can reach high speeds, don't let the adrenaline get to you-keep it under the safe 4mph. In fact, some designer scooters allow you to cap the speed level and keep you in check.
Class 3 Mobility Scooters
Now these ones are for the road. You can drive them really anywhere you want-save for the motorways, anyway. Speeds can reach as high as 8mph. Rough, smooth, short or far, they can handle all terrains and distances. They come with more battery power, and can go even to 25 miles. For safety and road rules, they come with the entire package of lights (front, rear and hazard), indicators, the rear view mirrors, and are really comfortable.
Law 101: A Class 3 vehicle is not legally defined as a motor vehicle and, therefore, you are not required to either have a driving license or to take a test.
Why Weight is a Factor When choosing Mobility Scooters
Don't get sensitive, but you'll be asked about your weight when you're making your purchase. Different scooters can handle different weights, and you'll want one that's durable for you. And since you'll most likely be going shopping with the scooter, you'll want to know if it can handle the extra weight of the things you'll be carrying.
It's simple: Excess weight on scooter= Unstable scooter
The scooters come recommended eights or stipulated maximum weight capacities.
Besides, if you buy a mobile scooter whose recommended weight is lower than your actual weight, you'll invalidate the warranty.
Storage and Accessibility of the Mobility Scooter
Where will you keep it when you're not on it? Say you want to charge the battery separately, you got some place to keep it that's both dry and secure?
If you want to keep it indoors, will it be able to make it through your doorway? (This is rarely a concern as most scooters allow you to fold the tiller or even reduce the width of the armrests). Why, others can even be dismantled and reassembled later, while there are those you can simply fold.
Or you can go all out and buy a specialist scooter store. It’s basically a metal cabinet to house your scooter. They come with different forms of locking systems. They are good in terms of security, but you'll need a competent electrician for the installation of the power socket in the scooter store.
Love it before you buy it
It’s recommended to try out the scooter before you make the final purchase. Hop on it and give it a test drive. If you're making your purchase online, check out its dimensions, in addition to the user reviews and ratings. Chances are that is everyone says it's good, IT IS good.
Should I be insured?
It’s not a legal requirement. But hey, you might as well have insurance and go out on your rides safe in the knowledge that you're covered. Most insurance companies will add your mobility scooter to your current home contents cover.