Mobility scooters have been around in the UK for many years. They have now become very popular modes of transport for those needing a little help with their mobility. The last couple of years have seen dramatic changes in technology which has resulted in some excellent new models coming on to the market. The introduction of these new lightweight mobility scooters and lithium battery technology means things can be a little confusing to begin with. Here we will try to help with some facts and information to make buying the right mobility scooter as easy as possible.
What is the purpose of a mobility scooter?
Well we think it can be many things to many people but ultimately it allows an individual to travel further than they would be able to walk. Therefore allowing people to carry on unrestricted by mobility issues with their daily lives. This can be at home, on days out or holidays abroad as mobility scooters can now accompany you anywhere.
What is a mobility scooter?
In general a mobility scooter is a small electric vehicle designed to carry one person. The motor is usually a single 24volt electric motor powered by two 12volt batteries. New technology means single lithium batteries are now popular. Scooters with two motors are also available such as the range of Supascoota mobility scooters. Mobility scooters also have both forward and reverse gear and are very simple to drive. The scooters all come with a battery charger, which you plug in at home to charge your battery. All mobility scooters have a speed limiter which restricts the top speed to either 4mph or 8mph depending on the class of scooter.
The DVLA categorises mobility scooters as either Class 2 or Class 3. All legal mobility scooters have an automatic braking system for your safety. It has been noted that some unscrupulous traders have been selling mobility scooters without automatic braking. These types of scooters are be best avoided for your own safety.
Class 2 Mobility Scooters
These mobility scooters have a maximum speed of 4 mph and are designed to be used on pavements and in pedestrian areas. Folding and portable mobility scooters all fall into this category along with larger mobility scooters that have their speed limited to 4 mph. These mobility scooters have an automatic braking system that will stop the scooter as soon as you release the power lever.
Class 3 Mobility Scooters
The mobility scooters in this class are limited to 8 mph which is the maximum legal speed on the roads in the UK. These larger mobility scooters are road legal and can be driven on the main roads of the UK but not on motorways. They have automatic braking which stops the scooter as soon as you stop using the speed lever. These mobility scooters will have a full set of indicator and warning lights just like a car. In general all the larger mobility scooters are Class 3 and require you to register the scooter with the DVLA.
This is a very simple process and our staff are happy to help with the DVLA form. This will mean that you will be sent a log book for your mobility scooter just like you would have for a car. You will also get a registration number for your mobility scooter but you are not required by law to display it on your scooter. The Cabin Car fully enclosed mobility scooter is in this category.
Do I need a driving licence and insurance?
No, a driving licence is not required to use a mobility scooter. It is also not compulsory to have insurance to use a mobility scooter, although we as a company would advise that you took out insurance when buying a mobility scooter. We can explain in detail the insurance options available when you visit one of our mobility showrooms.
How do I decide which mobility scooter to buy?
To start, you really need to decide what you want to do with your mobility scooter. Do you wish to use it just around your local area or do you want to take it with you, in a car for instance? The answer to this will decide the type of mobility scooter you need. Mobility scooters fall into two main groups, those that can be taken with you in a vehicle and those more suitable to be stored at your home. This could be in your garage or a garden shed or other outbuilding.
Portable, Folding and Lightweight Mobility Scooters
These types of mobility scooter have undergone the greatest changes in recent years. Manufacturers are striving to produce the lightest and most convenient models for customers. In this category mobility scooters fall into those that fold as one unit and those that come apart. There is no model that is really better than another, the right model is the one that suits you best. To this end we would always advise that you try the mobility scooter for size and weight before buying.
Mobility scooters vary greatly from model to model in size, weight and convenience. Leg room is also very important and you really need to sit on the mobility scooter to know if it suits.
Lighter weights are now the focus in this category and so makers are using lighter materials. Aluminium frames are now popular for strength and lightness. Lithium batteries are also replacing the heavier sealed lead acid batteries for two reasons. Firstly they are very much lighter to lift and secondly they charge quicker.
A visit to one of our showrooms will pay dividends when it comes to choosing a portable mobility scooter. You will be able to try the scooter out for suitability and size. How easy will it be for you to lift can also be decided by trying one for yourself. We also have the bonus of our customers being able to check the scooters fit in their car before buying. As we have car parking just outside our front doors. The locations of our mobility showrooms are listed here on our showroom page.
Medium and Large Mobility Scooters
This group covers all the larger mobility scooters that are not designed to be put into the back of your vehicle. Although clearly if you own a large vehicle and a set of car loading ramps anything is possible. These larger mobility scooters will have features such as suspension and fully adjustable seats for comfort. They will have a choice of solid puncture proof tyres or air tyres which arguably offer a more comfortable ride. For those wanting the best of both worlds we offer puncture sealant to air tyres for protection from flat tyres.
There will be choices of maximum speeds at 4mph, 6mph or 8mph giving you a speed you feel comfortable with. There are models designed for off road more rugged conditions like the TGA Vita X and there are models such as the TGA Midi Breeze 4 which is just perfect for doing the shopping.
Three and four wheel versions are available, the three wheel versions being a little more nimble on turns. Some of the mobility scooters in this group will have ranges as high as 40 miles but on average 25 miles will be the norm. Convenience features such as speedometers, clocks, phone charging ports, locking compartments and bottle holders are now becoming commonplace. There are also fully enclosed models available such as the Cabin Car or with an all weather canopy. Just as with the smaller scooters, it’s always best to try these larger scooters out before buying a mobility scooter.