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The Complete Guide to Mobility Scooters: Laws, FAQs and Features
This entry was posted on December 5, 2018.
A mobility scooter can be revolutionary for individuals with mobility issues, allowing people to have a level of independence not previously possible and quickly transforming everyday life. However, with the mobility scooter market being so vast, it can be a difficult process for some to choose the right mobility scooter for them.
We supply a range of mobility scooters but our sister company, Change Mobility, are dedicated to keeping an updated and wide range of mobility scooters within their collection. With years of experience when it comes to offering innovative mobility solutions, we have compiled a list of important features, questions and answers in this one comprehensive guide, with the aim of assisting those looking to invest in a mobility scooter for themselves or someone else.
Scooter vs Wheelchair Debate
Mobility scooters and electric wheelchairs can both be offered as a solution for mobility difficulties, and with good reason. Both can offer a brilliant opportunity to promote safe and comfortable mobility and here's why:
• Mobility Scooter
The main recognisable feature of a mobility scooter is its appearance; mobility scooters typically have 3-4 wheels and a seat placed behind a handlebar, which is then utilised to operate and steer the scooter.
Mobility scooters are battery-powered and provide assistance with getting around outdoors, whether it be for short journeys to the local shop or to venture into and around town. Some mobility scooters are even able to be used on roads.
• Electric Wheelchair
An electric wheelchair looks similar to the original non-powered wheelchair, however they are controlled by a joystick or touch controls.
Electric wheelchairs usually cost considerably more than a mobility scooter but they require minimal effort to operate, making them suitable for people with severe mobility difficulties.
Mobility scooters are often favoured by elderly individuals who need assistance in everyday activities, with attached storage baskets proving useful during daily outings.
An electric wheelchair, on the other hand, is best suited to those with severe mobility issues as they require minimum effort to operate.
Laws on Mobility Scooters
If mobility scooters seem to be the best option for you, it's important to be aware of the laws associated with using them. As a mobility scooter is likely to be used in public places, including pavements and possibly even roads, associated laws are there to ensure the safety of the user and others.
Mobility Scooters on a Road
Only mobility scooters possessing lights, indicators, and the ability to reach a speed of 6-8mph, are allowed on the road. These mobility scooters must be taxed before road use is allowed, although users do not need to pass a driving test to take their mobility scooter on the road.
For users who possess a road-approved mobility scooter, the usual road laws must be followed in terms of traffic lights, speed limits and road signs.
There is a legal speed limit for mobility scooters travelling on a pavement, which is 4mph. It's important to also be aware that pedestrians have right of way and users must stay within the speed limit to ensure the safety of themself and others.
Servicing a mobility scooter is not a legal requirement but it is recommended that they have an annual service. A service will make sure that everything is in good working condition.
The Government website is a great resource for understanding all of the laws associated with having and using a mobility scooter. If you have further questions regarding the laws on mobility scooters, we recommend taking a look at their website.
How Fast Do Mobility Scooters Go?
Speed capabilities vary between different models of mobility scooters. Scooters are divided into different 'classes', with Class 2 scooters having an upper speed limit of 4mph and Class 3 scooters having an upper speed limit of 8mph.
How Far Can a Mobility Scooter Go?
Similarly to speed, the distance that a fully-charged mobility scooter can go depends on the model of the scooter. Some models can last 6 miles, whereas others may last 11 miles on a fully charged battery.
With average use, the battery of a mobility scooter can last between 18 and 24 months before needing to be replaced, which can be checked during the recommended annual service. It's important to replace the battery when it is needed to do so, as a scooter with an old battery will not be able to travel the same distance from a single charge.
Important Features of a Mobility Scooter
When it comes to choosing the right mobility scooter for you, a variety of important factors need to be considered, many of which come down to the intended use of the scooter, how often it will be used and what it will be used for. Once this has been established, the following features need to be considered:
For those intending to use a mobility scooter on roads and for longer distances, comfort is an important factor to look at when deciding on the best mobility scooter.
Some models focus on comfort more than others, with cushioned seating that can be adjusted for the comfort of the user. As adjustment possibilities vary between models, it's important to understand all comfort features of a mobility scooter before purchasing.
The distance and type of use you intend to get out of your mobility scooter helps to determine how durable a mobility scooter needs to be. For mobility scooters that will be regularly used for longer distances, it's beneficial to choose a scooter that has puncture-proof wheels, such as those on the CM Kestrel mobility scooter.
• Safety Features
Some mobility scooters also feature anti-roll back systems which prevent a scooter from rolling backwards. This is particularly advantageous to those who intend to use their scooter frequently on roads and pavements, and also for users who live in an area with a particularly hilly terrain. In such cases, an anti-roll back system acts as a great safety feature and can offer peace of mind to the user.
• Colour Options
When investing in a scooter, appearance can sometimes be an important feature to the purchaser. If appearance is important, some scooters offer a choice of colours to whereas others do not.
The importance of weight as a deciding factor in finding the right mobility scooter largely depends on the intended use of the scooter. For scooters that will need to be transported on planes, cars, or vans, for example, opting for a lighter-weight scooter will make transportation much easier. However, if a scooter does not need to be transported in this way, the weight of the scooter is likely to be less important.
• Weight Capacity
The weight and build of the user needs to be taken into account when purchasing a mobility scooter, due to different scooters having different capabilities in terms of the weight they can comfortably hold. Weight capacity is more important for heavier individuals who need more support from their mobility scooter.
Due to mobility scooters coming in a range of sizes, it's important to ensure that a scooter will fit comfortably within the property that the user lives in. Larger mobility scooters may struggle to fit through narrow hallways, alleyways and even pavements, making it important to consider a scooter's measurements before determining the appropriate model.
Mobility scooters come in a wide range of prices, with more basic models being at the lower end of the spectrum, and more elite models being more expensive.
Although price may be an important factor to consider in the decision-making process, it's equally as important to make sure that a mobility scooter has all of the features needed before purchase.
Our sister company, Change Mobility, have a wide range of mobility scooters on offer, offering something for all individuals. We understand the importance of finding the right mobility scooter for you and so our mobility showroom offers you the chance to come and see the scooters for yourself. Call us on 01423 500666 to find out more.