Choosing A Mobility Scooter
Mobility scooters are for people mobile enough to operate a vehicle but challenged when walking distances, either because of a disability or a health problem. Scooters have three or four wheels, with models ranging from small, compact vehicles for indoors, to bigger scooters for whizzing round your local shops, to large models designed to handle rougher terrains. They're battery-powered and steered by a tiller or handlebars.
IS IT A CAR? A BIKE? NO, IT'S ...
Most mobility scooters are designed to travel on a footpath, like a pedestrian. They’re not classed as vehicles if their speed limit is less than 8MPH on roads and 4MPH on pavements. They need to be registered but registration is free of charge.
Another issue is use by people whose weight exceeds the scooter's limit, which can damage the scooter and make it unsafe.
IS IT FOR ME?
Before rushing out and buying a scooter, make sure the person intending to use it has the necessary physical and cognitive skills to operate and manoeuvre it safely. Levels of vision and hearing and the ability to get on and off the scooter should also be considered. While very few, there have been injuries and even deaths involving mobility scooters, so don't get on one unless you can operate it competently.
An assessment should be carried out to ensure that the user has the ability to operate the scooter safely; Wealden Mobility staff have been trained to provide such an assessment, which will include assessing whether you have:
- Enough hand strength and movement to use the controls, steer and turn the scooter. You also need to be able to turn your head to look to the side and behind you.
- Balance when riding on bumpy or rough ground and the ability to sit for periods of time and change the position of your body when going up and down inclines.
- Good enough vision and hearing to notice vehicles and pedestrians approaching, and to judge distances.
- The ability to concentrate for the entire period you drive and to react quickly enough to stop and turn suddenly if necessary. You also need to remember safety procedures and exercise patience, especially in crowded areas such as around shopping centres.
Check with your GP if you are taking any kind of medication to see if it affects your ability to operate machinery- if it does, talk to Wealden Mobility
Speak to Wealden Mobility to discuss the options and request a demonstration.
Assuming you've established you or the person you're buying for can use the scooter, think about where it's going to be used, so you know what kind to purchase.
Scooters are intended as an aid to mobility but not as a person's sole means of transport. So if the scooter's to be taken out for longer trips, check you or the person using it can get it transported to your destination. Some scooters will fold down or can be broken down into manageable sections for transportation. If you have a large enough car, a suitable ramp can be used. It is possible to fit hoists to cars to facilitate transportation.
The next thing to consider is storage. Many users house their scooter in a carport or garage, or in the house if it's for home mobility. Access to a power point is essential, as mobility scooters run on rechargeable batteries (which should be charged daily).
AFTER YOU'VE BOUGHT IT
A scooter should be serviced at least once a year or more often if it's used frequently.
Before each trip, check the horn works, the tyres are pumped up and the batteries are fully charged. Keep batteries charged when the scooter's not in use. Your batteries should last about two to four years before you need to buy new ones (providing you look after them).
Prior to buying, also find out what kind of warranty your scooter has - these range from 12 months to three years, with two years for the scooter and one year for batteries being the most common. Some suppliers give different warranties for different parts of the scooter, so make sure you're aware of what's covered and for how long.
Insurance is another necessary cost and the insurance we recommend includes a recovery facility in case your scooter breaks down away from home.
Wealden Mobility maintains a small stock of wheelchairs and can arrange for individual chairs to be available for demonstration; to try before you buy. In addition, a wide range of accessories are available to make your wheelchair as comfortable as possible.
How to find the right care assistant for you or your relative
1. Find your local office
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2. Get in touch with us
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4. Care assistant chosen & care starts
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