For the elderly person (or person with reduced mobility) who lives alone, a mobility scooter will go a long way to keeping independence still in the picture.
A mobility scooter can be either class 2 or class 3:
A condition for using a mobility scooter is that the user has either a physical disability or limited mobility, due to age, injury, or a medical condition.
Mobility scooters can travel on an incline of six to eight degrees, though heavy duty scooters can manage up to 12 degrees.
A mobility scooter can be used in the rain but drive more carefully and be conscious that heavy rain may affect the electrical controls.
Mobility scooters come as three-wheeled, four-wheeled and portable.
A three-wheeled scooter will be more compact and prove best for indoor use, as it manoeuvres more easily around corners. Three wheels are not as stable as four wheels and so try to avoid using a three-wheel design on grass, gravel, or uneven surfaces.
A four-wheeled scooter is best for outdoor use. It is also a wider scooter and may have larger wheels.
A lightweight, travel, mobility scooter can be a boon for socialising, as it dismantles easily and can fit into the boot of a car. Some can be very light in weight though, if considering purchase, it pays to check the weight of the individual pieces, and also its maximum user weight, to be sure it matches the potential user's requirements.
A mobility scooter does not need liability insurance, though it is recommended that a user does take out insurance, as it can be used in the case of theft, damage to the vehicle, or negligence claims which could be made against the user.
You don't need a licence to drive a mobility scooter but you may still need to register it with the DVLA. A mobility scooter does not require that road tax be paid either.
Mobility scooters can carry maximum weights of between 250 and 350 pounds (depends on the make). If the user weight exceeds 350 pounds, a heavy duty bariatric mobility scooter can take weights in excess of that weight.
Tyres for mobility scooters can be either pneumatic or solid.
Pneumatic tyres house an inner tube which is filled with air. These tyres offer shock absorbing benefits and so give a smoother ride.
For general guidance, tyre pressure should be set at 2 - 2.4 bar (30 - 35 psi). Underinflated tyres may negatively affect your control of the scooter. Over inflated tyres could burst, possibly hurting you and maybe damaging your scooter.
Solid tyres need no maintenance but don't offer as smooth a ride. As to wear and tear, solid tyres do not necessarily last any longer than pneumatic ones.
Once you have selected the mobility scooter which most matches your needs, seek advice on puncture proof tyres and whether your lifestyle (i.e. preferred terrain) might indicate that these tyres would prove a better choice.
There are many mobility scooter accessories that can enhance the use of a mobility scooter, both for indoor and outdoor use:
Mirrors - when changing direction in your mobility scooter, mirrors mean that you do not have to twist your body to look over your shoulder and will keep you safe from hurting yourself physically, as well protecting others nearby, or damaging your scooter.
Travel bags come in various shapes and sizes:
Weather Conditions can be handled with ease:
Other mobility scooter accessories include:
Enhancing the travel experience with mobility cushions or sheepskin seat covers will make sitting much more comfortable and will also reduce the likelihood of developing pressure sores from sitting over prolonged periods.
Mobility cushions come in different materials:
Please note that mobility scooters are not allowed on 'cycle only' paths.
Whilst a class 3 mobility scooter can be used on the road, it is much safer to drive on the pavement and only on a road, when no pavement is available.
Always make sure your battery has enough charge for the journey you will be making.
Using a mobility scooter to climb hills will drain the battery faster.
When choosing your mobility scooter, take into consideration that, if you intend to use it indoors, you need to measure door width against scooter width, to be sure that it can pass through relevant doorways.
For the tyre pressure which exactly matches your mobility scooter, check the psi rating on the side of the tyre, refer to the user manual, or contact the supplier for advice and guidance.
If using the scooter for a prolonged period, enhance the sitting experience by using mobility cushions or plush seat covers.
When looking at the array of mobility cushions available, bear in mind that too high a cushion might inhibit your ability to get your knees under a table or desk height.
Make sure that you accessorise your scooter with items which feature high visibility markings, to help others see you when you are crossing a road, or travelling by road (class 3 only for travelling by road).
Always remember that you will be using your scooter amongst walkers, people with pushchairs, runners, cyclists and dog walkers. Take care at all times.