Published on January 7, 2013

A mobility scooter is a motorized mobility device which is similar in size and configuration to a traditional motor scooter. Although mobility scooter is the most commonly-used name, others, such as PMV (Personalized mobility vehicle), electric scooter or power-operated vehicle also can be used to describe the product.

The more traditional scooter models come equipped with a seat, a flat foot rest and front handlebars which control steering. The seat may swivel to allow easier access to and from the scooter, but this is not always the case. Usually, a mobility scooter will possess three or four wheels.

Mobility scooters are usually battery powered, meaning they will need to be charged at some point. The battery is often stored on board the scooter and can be charged using standard electric power via an onboard or separate charging unit.

Depending on the make and model of scooter, a fully charged battery will allow the user to travel a distance of about 30 miles. Batteries can sometimes be upgraded to provide better performance, or an additional battery pack can be carried on the scooter to effectively double the range of the electric scooter. Gasoline-powered scooters are also available to rent or purchase, though they are rapidly being replaced by electric models.

The speed of the mobility scooter is determined by the amount of pressure put on the forward / reverse lever. This lever is usually located on the handlebars. Most mobility scooter models can travel at speeds of up to 8 miles an hour, although some models are capable of reaching higher velocities.

In order to properly slow down a mobility scooter, the user needs to release the forward or reverse lever which then brings the device to a gentle stop. Mobility scooters also come equipped with safety brakes, which mean that it can be left on a slope without fear of it rolling away. An emergency bicycle style brake is fitted on some models for additional mobility scooter safety and security.

Most models of mobility scooter require a key to start them and are immobile without it. This means that the scooter can be left unattended if the driver needs to go somewhere the scooter won't fit. The vast majority of mobility scooters also come equipped with a freewheel mode, which allows the scooter to be moved without the scooter being turned on. This makes storing and transporting your electric scooter easier, and can assist when the batteries are charging and it needs moving.

Some things to look for when purchasing/renting a mobility scooter

A Stable Seat: The scooter should have a seat, backrest and foot support that combine to provide a comfortable, stable experience. Try to choose a mobility scooter that has a seat/backrest unit that can be adjusted to meet your own requirements. A stable seating posture is essential in order to manage the vehicle’s controls. The seat unit should be moved to a position which the user finds most comfortable and which gives them the best access to the steering controls.

A Scooter that is easy to steer: Two hands are usually required in order to operate the controls on a mobility scooter and move the handlebars for steering.

A Scooter that is easy to transfer from: The following features may help those who seek to transfer to and from a mobility scooter with relative ease.

  1. A seat that swivels at least 180 degrees so that it can face outwards for easier transfers. Make sure to ensure also that the user can swivel the seat back into the driving position without assistance.

  2. A seat which is adjustable in terms of height, so that users of a variety of heights can use the scooter comfortably.

  3. Armrests that can be grasped to push up from or lower down to the seat.

  4. Fold-up armrests that can be flipped out of the way for sideways transfers.

A Scooter that is easy to manoeuvre: If you decide to rent or purchase an indoor scooter make sure that the chosen scooter will go through doorways, make tight turns from hallways and go down aisles.

A Scooter that is easy to transport: Some models of scooters can be dismantled for transporting, but it still requires some strength. Some smaller models can be folded and levered into the trunk of a car, while others must be dismantled before being transported anywhere.

Conclusion: Follow these easy steps and you’ll be a mobility scooter pro in no time. Remember to observe the rules of the road whenever you commence driving your scooter to ensure both your safety and those around you.