If you’re starting to struggle with walking, a mobility scooter might be your perfect solution. The right one can have a big impact on your quality of life, allowing you to regain your independence and get out and about whenever you want to. Trying to choose a scooter can be a daunting task, so we’ve put this overview together to give you some points to consider. Once you’ve thought about which type of scooter is likely to fit best into your life, you can visit your nearest Snowdrop shop to try some out!
Size, Storage and Transport
Are you looking for an off-roading beast? Or a little run-around? Where you wish to travel with your scooter will give some clues as to the size you need. Will it need to be small enough to negotiate shopping aisles? If you will transport your scooter in the car, models that dismantle are worth exploring. Their parts are far lighter than any version of foldable ‘boot’ scooter, as most (if not all) are too heavy for anybody but an Ironman contender to pick up with ease. The foldable boot scooters do come into their own if they need to be stored inside – especially in hallways, or in caravans or boats, where they will ingeniously curl into a small and miraculously space-saving bundle. On the other side of the scale, large scooters will need a secure and dry storehouse, with charging facility if possible- and cannot be easily transported.
Speed and Distance
A 4mph scooter is a pavement scooter where the 8mph variety can be ridden on the road if it is registered and taxed, and the DVLA advises that all scooters should be used on the pavement where at all possible. A small scooter will generally have a range up to a maximum of 10 miles, whilst larger scooters can travel for 20-30 miles without needing to be recharged. Driver-weight, weather, and terrain will also impact on the range. Requirements for large scooters to be legal for the road include an audible horn, front and rear lights, and reflectors. Insurance is not compulsory but highly recommended, especially liability insurance.
If you suffer from aching bones and joints, it will be worth ensuring a decent ‘Captain’s seat’ and good suspension, though there is not currently a model that will protect its user from all bumps in the road. Pneumatic tyres give a comfortable ride but are prone to punctures and need pumping up and maintenance whereas solid tyres give a firmer ride but carry minimal maintenance requirements and no puncture-risk. A puncture-resistant liquid within the tyres can be a good half-way house, but they do still need maintenance. The arms and tiller positioning, which can both generally be adjusted, and foot-well space are all comfort factors. Sometimes it is a case of trying a few different versions to see which feels best.
Price and Availability
Scooters range from just under £1000 for a smart high-quality run-around, as much as £18000 for an off-roader, and most are between the £2000-£5000 range. Schemes such as Motability enable people with enhanced mobility rate PIP who might not otherwise be able to access a scooter to have the use of one on a fully supported basis, subject to meeting the criteria. An increasing number of parks and public spaces are now making scooters available for their visitors to use.
A scooter is a powerful vehicle, and so safety is a key concern when assessing suitability. Whilst there is no legal eyesight requirement, the DVLA advises that a scooter driver should be able to read a car registration number plate at 40 feet. In terms of weight, different size scooters have different limits. Coherence, reasoning and prescribed medication that could negatively influence competence should be considered. For physical ability, a certain amount of strength and mobility will be needed in order to steer and negotiate the roads. It may be that a Scooter is not the best option – and that a power-chair would be preferable, or for those with the strength who wish to regain access to wilder-areas, a Mountain Trike. A reputable mobility specialist will be thorough in assessing most suitable, safe – and exciting – possibilities.
Colour, Style, and Accessories
You have all colours of the rainbow to choose from, and styles to satisfy every taste and personality– from the mods to the rockers. In terms of accessories, a backpack will carry ample shop supplies, and a poncho will enable ample use to suit the variable Welsh climate.
Our Snowdrop mobility specialists will be happy to discuss your unique Scooter wishes and recommend models to suit. Our showrooms hold a wide selection of scooters available for you to test and get the feel of, so get in touch or pop in to your nearest showroom for more information!