Venturing forth on a mobility scooter can be a daunting prospect for many seniors. There is the challenge of controlling an unfamiliar vehicle and the risk of tipping over, especially where footpaths are uneven.
Alan Brading, owner of SupaScoota based in Warkworth, says seniors can give themselves peace of mind by checking the safety features before buying a scooter.
His first tip is to ask whether the scooter complies with any recognised safety standards. Look for scooters which are FDA-approved, carry the CE certification mark or Australian Standard.
The next thing to consider is stability. Four wheels are better than three. Alan also recommends looking for a twin-motor system, which drives both rear wheels. If the scooter is only driving a single wheel then it’s more likely to tip when conditions get tricky.
Another useful feature is an electronic stability system so that when you turn the scooter automatically slows down, making it less likely to roll. When it comes to tyres, they should be of the inflatable type.
“Solid tyres will have more difficulty negotiating the lips found on curbs and driveways,” Alan says.
Good seat suspension makes things more comfortable and is especially critical if the user has any kind of back pain.
Finally, Alan recommends taking a serious look at fold-up scooters. They are generally free to take on cruises and on airlines. If you want to take a loved one on a family outing, they can be packed down and placed in a car boot, then quickly reassembled for use when you reach your destination.
“After all, mobility scooters are all about “mobility” and getting people out there,” Alan says.