After plenty of thinking and talking with family and friends, you've decided the time is right to invest in a mobility scooter. So, where do you start in choosing a scooter that is best for your needs?
Your choice really comes down to where you want to use your scooter, the distances you want to travel on your scooter and matching you size to the size and performance capabilities of the scooter. For example, if you plan to spend a lot of time going on longer trips then you will need a completely different scooter from someone who plans to only use their scooter in their home and zipping down to the local shops at the end of the street.
Damian Ryan, a Senior Healthcare Consultant from Bluesky Healthcare has provided some answers to questions for you to think about and how their answers might affect your scooter choice:
Indoor or outdoor?
If you mainly want to use your scooter within your home and within a shopping centre then size, turning circle and manoeuvrability will be the top priorities. A compact 4-wheel model might be the best choice for you.
If you intend to do a lot of outdoor travel including over varied terrain such as uneven footpaths, gravel, grassed areas and hills, then a larger 4-wheel model will provide more power and reliability.
If you will be covering rough terrain or suffer from back pain then a scooter with shock absorbers and suspension will be what you need to safely cope with uneven terrain and provide a more comfortable ride.
If you live in a very hilly area or if you are a bigger person then a scooter with a 4 pole motor is a must to ensure the delivery of the extra power you will need and to prevent the motor from overheating and short term burn out.
How fast and how far?
You can't get too carried away here; scooter drivers do need to stick to a maximum speed of 10 km/h on footpaths, shared paths and roads. But if you need to navigate steep hills or travel longer distances, then you will generally want a scooter with a more powerful motor and a larger batter capacity. Be sure to ask how many kilometres you will get out of each battery charge and how long the battery will take to charge.
If you will mainly be taking shorter trips to the local shops and visiting neighbours, you may be happy with a model with a lower maximum speed and a shorter battery life.
If you plan to be out and about on your scooter any time after the street lights go on, then the scooter must have front and rear lights and indicators.
What kind of weight will your scooter need to carry? This is known as the scooter's 'load capacity'. If you are a larger person, you will need a more robust, heavy-duty model.
What's the next step?
After thinking about when, where and how you want to use your scooter, the next step is talking to someone who will assess your needs and help you decide exactly which scooter is best suited to you. Make sure that you trial the scooter at your own home where you will use it everyday not in or around a retail shop you you will never ride the scooter.