A mobility scooter provides independence for users, giving thousands of people who deal with mobility issues a way to get out and about with ease. However, mobility scooters are not suitable for everyone in the long term, so there are a few factors to consider before you buy one. You don’t want to invest in one then let it go to waste in the garage, come to use it again and find it is not road worthy.
If you are considering buying a mobility scooter, based on a GPs recommendation or ongoing walking and mobility issues, we have put together a guide on the things you should think about before investing.
What is a Mobility Scooter?
Mobility scooters are a cross between a scooter and powered wheelchair. They travel at a slower speed than motored scooters; the largest class 3 mobility scooters have a maximum speed limit of 8mph. Mobility scooters can be used in pedestrian areas and sometimes on roads if the type of scooter is eligible.
There are different types available, from foldable scooters to 4mph mobility scooters which have a decent range and a sturdy feel. All scooters have a steering tiller to direct the wheels, padded seats, simple controls and are battery-operated.
Do I Qualify for a Mobility Scooter?
Mobility scooters are the best type of aid if you have limited mobility but still want to get out of the house for long periods, whether it’s for shopping, visiting family and friends or just spending time outside. If you have been relying on others to do shopping or take you out, a mobility scooter can bring you increased freedom and reduce your dependence on others.
Mobility scooters are particularly helpful if the user suffers from conditions such as multiple sclerosis, arthritis or obesity. They can also help with short-term problems such as hip or knee replacements or fractured bones. A mobility scooter can also be an alternative for older adults who have to give up driving but still need the means to get around. Generally, mobility scooters are designed for adults who tire quickly or experience pain when walking even at short distances, need help with mobility or do not need a wheelchair full time.
People with disabilities can also qualify for a mobility scooter through the Motability Scheme, which Monarch Mobility is part of. The scheme has helped over three million people gain access to the mobility aids they need. You can use a government-funded mobility allowance to lease an electric scooter or powered wheelchair from us every three years.
Are There Any Reasons I May Not Qualify for a Mobility Scooter?
Mobility scooters are not suitable for everyone. If you have sight, hearing or perceptual difficulties, it is recommended you do not drive a mobility scooter, as these are essential senses needed to drive safely around others.
Mobility scooters are also not suitable for those who need to travel long journeys frequently; the rechargeable battery has only a few hours of power, and you can cause unnecessary wear and tear on the scooter. For those who may need to make long distance trips but need a mobility scooter, using public transport is the best option.
What are the Pros and Cons of Using a Mobility Scooter?
While a mobility scooter can be a new lease of life, they are not for everyone. The pros of using one include the independence they give the user, the ease of operating them and less strain on the upper body which is required to use a manual wheelchair. Mobility scooters can also be used in public spaces and depending on their size can fit in a car boot or on public transport. What may put some people off are the controls, but mobility scooters are simple to operate with only a few functions, and a driving license is not required.
However, there are some downsides to be aware of. Mobility scooters are cheaper than powered wheelchairs but are still costly and not usually available through the NHS. The batteries which power the scooters also need to be charged every day, especially if you use it daily.
There is also a possibility you can become too reliant on a mobility scooter. If you can walk unassisted or with a stick or walker, consistent use of a scooter can discourage you from walking and reduce your mobility. The designs are also not as bespoke or ergonomically beneficial as powered wheelchairs, and so regular use may lead to issues with back pain.
Which Mobility Scooter is Best for You?
A mobility scooter is a medical aid as well as a lifestyle choice and when you have weighed up all your options and decided buying a mobility scooter is right for you, you then need to decide which type is best for your needs. Contact us and we can help you choose the right scooter, with some examples of popular choices described below.
Class 2 – Class 2 scooters are the typical mobility scooters you will find on pavements in towns and cities and are small and light and cheaper than those designed for road use. Some models are capable of faster speeds, but when class 2 scooters are driven around pedestrians the top speed should be 4mph.
Folding or dismantling boot scooters – Boot scooters are small scooters that can be used on pavements but can also be easily folded to keep in a car or taken on public transport as luggage. Folding scooters can be reduced in size to a compact shape, and dismantling scooters can be broken up into four or five pieces for travelling and reconstructed for use.
Class 3 – Class 3 mobility scooters are larger and heavier, and suitable for driving on any road except motorways or dual carriageways (unless their speed limit is 50 mph or under). Their maximum speed is 8mph and have front and rear lights, indicators and brakes. Being more powerful they are good for longer journeys, have a battery range of around 25 miles and cope better with hills.