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How to Choose a Mobility Scooter

Mobility scooters are an increasingly popular mode of transport for the elderly, those unable to walk long distances or wanting to remain independent and access their local community. Compared to a car, they are cheap to run, safe to use and easy to handle. When someone is no longer safe to drive a car, a mobility scooter is a great replacement to keep you out and about.

Whilst you do not currently require a licence or need to register a mobility scooter in Victoria, we would always recommend that you speak to your doctor or a healthcare professional to discuss whether you are safe to drive one.

The scooter market has evolved rapidly over the past 10 years with lower pricing, new technology and more legislation being introduced to reflect increased competition, the demand for improved product usability and the safety of users becoming prominent focus areas.  

When deciding whether to buy a mobility scooter there are many things to consider. At Life Mobility we have over 15 years’ experience in helping you choose the right model, at the right price, to suit your specific needs. Some of the key things to consider are:

3-wheel or 4-wheel scooter? 

  • 3-wheel scooters offer more legroom than 4-wheelers, making them better suited to taller users or those who struggle to bend their knees for extended periods of time. They offer lighter steering and are more manoeuvrable due to a much tighter turning circle making them better suited to areas with limited access eg: shops or general indoor use. Despite being considered “unstable” by some, when driven correctly, over the recommended terrain, they are stable and safe to use.
  • 4-wheel scooters are more stable, especially if you make a mistake, and are better suited to rough terrain or uneven surfaces. Despite offering less legroom than a 3-wheeler, there are a number of models that have a longer chassis and lower wheel arches to provide good legroom for taller users. Many new scooter users feel safer on a 4-wheeler and that confidence is key to years of independent and regular use.

What size scooter is right for me?

Choosing the right size is vital to making the right choice of mobility scooter. The three main categories are:

  • Small/portable scooters

Ideal for those looking to transport their scooter regularly. These scooters generally dismantle easily so they can be loaded into a vehicle and, with their relatively small solid tyres, can be used in places with smooth, flat surfaces eg: shopping centres.

Due to their size, they are generally not suitable for tall (over 180cm) or heavy users (over 100kg). Top speeds vary up to 8km/h and they offer a maximum range per charge of 15-30km.
 

  • Medium sized scooters

The most popular size of scooter that is suitable for general outdoor and limited indoor use.

Medium scooters usually have at least 10” pneumatic tyres, suspension, lights for night use and comfortable adjustable seating. Whilst they can still be dismantled they are only suitable for occasional transporting. Top speeds vary up to 12km/h and they offer a maximum range per charge of 25-35km.
 

  • Large sized scooters

Suitable for taller or heavier users (with weight capacities up to 220kg).

Large scooters typically offer deluxe, soft-riding suspension, extended legroom and more power than standard scooters. They are more capable over uneven terrain, on steep hills and for more robust use over longer distances. Top speeds vary up to 15km/h and they offer a maximum range per charge of 40-50km.
 

General considerations when buying a scooter

There are many other factors to consider. These include:

  • Your height and weight?
    • Is the weight capacity right for your size?
    • Do you need extra legroom?
    • Someone with a petite frame may not suit a large scooter
  • What area do you live in?
    • Are there hills? If yes, does the scooter have sufficient weight capacity to use on them?
    • How are the footpaths? eg: smooth or rough
    • Are there footpaths? Will you need to drive on the road?
  • Where do you want to go?
    • Are there access issues?
  • How far do you want to go?
    • Larger scooters have larger batteries and so offer longer range on a single charge.
  • Does it have suspension?
    • Is the suspension adjustable for lighter or heavier users?
    • Are they hard coiled springs or full shock absorbing suspension systems?
  • How often you intend to use the scooter each day?
    • If you want to use the scooter everyday then you need to ensure it will handle regular use over a long period of time. You may also need to consider whether the battery size is right for the intended driving time each day?
  • Will you need to transport the scooter?
    • What vehicle will you transport it in?
    • Who will be putting it into the vehicle?
    • Will you need to dismantle it or load it with a ramp?
  • Existing medical conditions?
    • In particular issues with medications, sight, hearing, blackouts, knees and hips can all be critical in establishing whether it is safe for you to use a scooter
  • Hand strength and function?
    • Do you have arthritis?
    • Are the controls easy for you to use?
    • Are you left or right handed? Controls can be reversed to suit on all scooters.
  • Do you want to use the scooter indoors, outdoors, or both?
    • Turning circle, width and length can all be important for scooters required for indoor use.
  • Where will you store it?
    • Is it under cover? If not, you will need to purchase an all-weather cover.
    • Do you have an electricity point near the storage location?
    • What is the access like?
  • Do you require any accessories?
    • We offer a wide range of options and accessories including: rear carry bags, walking stick holders, sun canopies, storage covers, visibility flags, wet weather ponchos, sheepskin seat covers and oxygen bottle holders. Ask one of our consultants for more details.
  • Who will service your scooter?
    • We service everything that we sell and believe that anyone selling scooters should do the same. Our trained technicians are available to come out to your home or bring your scooter in to our Bayswater showroom.
    • Our call out and service costs are some of the lowest in the industry. We only sell leading-brand, quality scooters that are carefully selected for value, reliability and proven after-sales service.
  • And of course, what’s your budget?
    • We have a large range of scooters to suit all budgets – check out our latest specials for some great bargains!
    • We can also offer assistance with funding bodies who may be able to assist you.

With so many options now available, choosing the right scooter can be quite daunting. We have years of experience in assessing users and recommending the right product. We always recommend that you test drive any scooter you are considering and we even offer a no-obligation, free trial, at your own home for up to 7 days. Call today and speak to one of our friendly consultants to discuss your specific circumstances and needs.

To find out more about our large range of mobility scooters, call us now on (03) 9726 2000 or visit our showroom.

Useful links:

Scooter Insurance:

http://www.bluebadgeinsurance.com.au/

Scooter Specifications Comparison Chart:

/sites/default/files/PDFs/Peak%20Scooter%20Comparison%201-10-14.pdf

You can also read the Vic Roads guide to “A guide to choosing and using motorised mobility devices”:

https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/safety-and-road-rules/pedestrian-safety/motorised-mobility-devices

Using your scooter on public transport – trains, trams & buses:

http://ptv.vic.gov.au/getting-around/accessible-transport/mobility-aids

Recharge scheme:

http://www.rechargescheme.org.au/

 

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