Mobility Scooters

Mobility Scooters – Buyer’s Guide

The Benefits of Electric Mobility Scooters

The number of people making use of electric mobility scooters is growing every day. The reason for their popularity is simple. Mobility scooters are a fantastic mode of transport for those of us who sometimes experience difficulty getting from “a” to “b”. They are easy to operate, and they enable us to maintain our independence.

Our Mobility Scooter Guide

Our aim here at Nationwide Mobility is to provide each of our visitors with all of the relevant and important information they need before purchasing any mobility appliances. Accordingly, we have put together the following buyer’s guide to mobility scooters just for you.

After reading our guide, you will be clued up on all the general aspects of mobility scooters – mobility scooter varieties, speeds, and extra features. You will then be able to easily identify and purchase the type of mobility scooter which best suits your needs.

However, in conjunction with consulting our buyer’s guide, we also recommended that you speak to your occupational therapist before purchasing your mobility scooter.

What is a Mobility Scooter?

Similar in purpose to the conventional wheelchair, a mobility scooter is a power operated vehicle which increases the mobility of a person who has trouble getting around. They may have 3 or 4 wheels, and can reach speeds of 4-8mph. Nowadays, scooters are usually powered by an electronic battery, which can be easily charged from a normal mains electrics socket or outlet.

In basic design terms, a scooter has a seat supported by two back wheels with handlebars (tiller) over the front one or two wheels to steer. The scooter is controlled by pushing on a small lever with your thumb, and it stopped upon release.

Whilst a mechanically simple design, the electronic mobility scooter gives a high sense of freedom to less-abled people around the world.

Who would need to use a Mobility Scooter?

Typically, electric mobility scooters have been designed for people who have prolonged trouble walking at distance. This includes the elderly, people who have lost the functional use of their legs, as well as people who have arthritis, breathing or heart conditions. They are often a welcome alternative or substitute to a manual wheelchair.

Before buying a scooter, it is important that the user will be able to mount and dismount the scooter themselves, unaided. The seats on scooters usually swivel to the side to help the transfer. Once seated, the user must be able to support themselves in an upright position as there is usually no other support aside from the backrest. The user will also have to reach for the steering column and grip the handlebars. If any of this is not the case, we would recommend looking at power chairs.

Get the right Mobility Scooter for you

There are two basic types of mobility scooters available on the market – three-wheel scooters and four-wheel scooters. The type of scooter which you purchase will depend on your own specific needs and use. Broadly speaking, the scooter that you choose will depend on the following factors.

The Average Length of Your Journeys

On average, how long will your mobility scooter journeys be? How far will you be travelling on your scooter?

Short Journeys

Will you be mostly using your mobility scooter for short, local journeys – travelling from home to your local corner shop or post office, for example? If so, a three-wheel, short range mobility scooter will be your ideal purchase.

Indeed, if you are primarily making local trips, a short range, three-wheel scooter will offer you all of the speed and manoeuvrability needed the for a brief, comfortable, and stable journey on the pavement.

Due to its fantastic manoeuvrability, a three-wheel scooter is perfect for weaving through shopping aisles. Due to its small size, a three-wheel scooter is also extremely easy to store in your home. Your will therefore always be able to easily access your short range, three-wheel scooter for those regular local journeys.

Longer Journeys

Do you intend to use your mobility scooter for much more extended journeys? Maybe your mobility scooter will help you take your pet dog on long walks? Perhaps your scooter will enable you to travel to meet family or friends who live more than a couple of miles away. If so, a high range, four-wheel scooter, rather than a short range, three-wheel scooter, will be ideal.

Indeed, this scooter’s higher range will make such longer trips possible. Moreover, a four-wheeled scooter guarantees you more stability and a much smoother ride than a three-wheel scooter does. This smoothness and stability in turn guarantees you extra comfort. This comfort is especially necessary when making those longer trips.

Typical Terrain

The type of terrain on which you intend to travel is another important factor when choosing which mobility scooter is best for you.

Pavement

Both 3-wheel and 4-wheel scooters are perfectly suitable for pavement use. The speed limit for scooters travelling on the pavement is 4mph.

Roads

If you are planning on using your scooter for longer journeys, you may wish to travel on the road. If this is the case, you should purchase a Class 3 specification scooter. To travel on the road, your mobility scooter must be registered with the DVLA, be able to travel a speed of up to 8 mph, have indicators, a horn and rear-view mirrors. The Class 3 specification scooter can travel up to that required speed, yet it can also be set to a limit of 4mph for pavement use (Class 2).

Rough Paths or Gravel

You may require a mobility scooter which can travel on terrain rougher than the pavement and road. If you are using your scooter to walk your dog around your local park, for example, you may regularly need to travel on rough paths or across gravel. If this is the case, you should opt for an all-terrain specification scooter.

These all-terrain mobility scooters have a higher ground clearance than conventional mobility scooters. They are also equipped with much thicker tyres and a stronger suspension. As a result, these scooters can tackle uneven surfaces better than any others and provide an extremely smooth and comfortable ride over rough terrain.

Portability

Do you regularly go on day trips? Will you need to be able to fold your scooter for easy transportation by car?

If so, be sure to purchase a folding scooter. Specifically designed to be swiftly and easily dismantled, folding scooters can be broken down into smaller parts, packed away in your car’s boot compartment, and reassembled when required in next to no time at all.

Features to consider when buying

The factors outline above should be your first area of consideration when choosing your mobility scooter. However, you should also take into account the following additional features and factors for each scooter on your shortlist:

Lights

If you intend to use your scooter at night, be sure to see that your scooter is fitted with lights. This is especially important if you plan to use your mobility scooter for long journeys on the road. Indeed, lights are a legal safety requirement for all class 3 specification, road mobility scooters.

Storage space

Whether you are opting for a short range, 3-wheel scooter or a longer range, 4-wheel scooter, a shopping basket is an excellent addition which will really see you get the most out of your scooter.

Indeed, a shopping basket will enable you to safely store and transport the goods purchased on your short, local shopping trip. Also, a shopping basket will also enable you to safely store items often required on a long journey – an umbrella, coat, or a drink of water.

Baskets are conventionally fixed to the front of your scooter. They are therefore completely unobtrusive and offer you easy access to your goods and belongings.

Batteries and Charging time

Finally it’s worth checking the battery life and charging time on your new scooter, as you don’t want to be left without it simply because the battery is not sufficiently charged. See our Maintenance Guide for more information.

Mobility Scooter Manufacturers

Whilst there an increasing number of companies producing and branding scooters, the major ones in the UK are:

  • Electromotion
  • Pride Mobility
  • Rascal
  • Shoprider

You may notice that some of them have a specialism in the  types of scooter they produce, but they are all worth considering when browsing for the right mobility scooter for you. If you are thinking about buying second-hand, see our guide to buying a used mobility scooter.

Do I need insurance?

Legally, no, however see our guide on scooter insurance for more details on this.

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