Over time, mobility scooters have evolved tremendously with various innovations in technology, improving their overall functionality.
They can have a significant impact on people’s lives. Those with limited mobility or those suffering from arthritic pain can significantly benefit from the use of a mobility scooter.
Keep on reading to learn how to brake with mobility scooters and much more.
A mobility scooter is a power-operated device that has a seat with two to three wheels. It has a flat area or foot plates for you to rest your feet on, as well as handlebars.
The handlebars double as a steering device, much like a motor scooter.
Such mobility aids perform primarily the same functions like a wheelchair. However, it gives the user a lot more freedom, as well as a sense of independence.
Handlebars also ensure that users don’t have to use a lot of strength to maneuver their mobility scooters.
However, users need to possess a certain level of hand, shoulder, back, and upper body mobility to be able to operate one safely.
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- 1 About Mobility Scooters
- 2 Do Mobility Scooters have Brakes?
- 3 Do Mobility Scooters Have Reverse?
- 4 What to Look for in a Mobility Scooter
- 5 Types of Mobility Scooters
- 6 Advantages
- 7 Limitations
About Mobility Scooters
Mobility scooters are either battery-powered or gasoline-powered. Battery-powered bikes are more commonly used.
They are rechargeable through a built-in or separate battery charger. Most scooters can travel around 30 miles with a fully charged battery.
Some scooters even feature a storage compartment for additional batteries that allow you to double the coverable distance.
People with lower upper arm strength, lung issues, coronary diseases, arthritis, or even partial paralysis, can benefit from the use of mobility aids like scooters.
The law legalizes the use of 8mph mobility scooters on the freeway. 8mph scooters that are legal for use on roads also come equipped with indicators, rearview mirrors, headlights, and brake lights.
If you lower the speed to 4mph, you can legally use them on pavements as well.
Do Mobility Scooters have Brakes?
All mobility scooters have a motion lever connected to a speed dial that’s visible on the control panel, which controls the speed of the vehicle when in motion.
Most mobility scooters feature a regenerative brake system.
Once you take the foot off the lever, the vehicle scooter automatically comes to a complete halt. It also keeps the scooter from rolling away when left unattended.
Some mobility scooters feature additional security brakes that allow you to halt the scooter and bring it to a complete stop, even on a slope.
Another advantage of this brake system is that it brings the machine to a jerk-free stop. The user does not jolt every time the vehicle brakes, which is a significant plus.
Do Mobility Scooters Have Reverse?
The lever on most mobility scooters doubles as a forward and reverse motion lever. Scooters feature an additional button on the control panel that allows you to switch between the forward and reverse motion.
To propel the scooter forward or backward, you press down on the lever while keeping an eye on the speed dial.
What to Look for in a Mobility Scooter
When choosing a scooter, you need to watch out for a few must-have features. They will make traveling, storing, and traveling via your automobile much more comfortable.
A Comfortable Seat
A stable seat is crucial for you to have a comfortable experience.
People with limited mobility or lower body pain cannot rely on their bodies to maintain their balance.
A stable seat is a definite must-have.
With stability, it is just as essential that you are able to adjust the seat as per your requirements.
A seat pushed too far out or pulled too far in can cause more discomfort to the rider than it benefits them.
Being able to adjust the height on your seat is also essential.
These two features combined allow you to exert control over the machine.
Adjust the seat to a position that will give the rider the most comfortable access to the steering control and speed peddle.
A seat that swivels is ideal for those with limited body movement. It makes it easier to transfer them in and out of the scooter.
Make sure you get a scooter that allows you to turn the seat at least 180 degrees and lock it in place.
You can twist it to face outwards for when you need to strap someone in, and they can easily turn it towards the steering controls without assistance.
The scooter should have sturdy armrests that allow you to put your weight on them and lift yourself. Having foldable armrests on your chair is a definite plus as well.
It makes transferring the person a lot easier. You can just fold them out of the way when needed and then lock them back in place.
Ease of Use
A mobility aid is meant to make moving about more manageable for you.
A scooter that has an overly complicated system may become off-putting for many users. Some scooters are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.
If you’re selecting one for indoor use, then the scooter must be able to fit through doorways and make tight turns and squeeze down narrow hallways.
Ease of Transport
You can dismantle some scooters for transportation. This feature enables you to fit it in the trunk of your car and transport it wherever needed.
Some smaller models can be folded for transportation as well. You can pack it in your car and take it to the grocery store, the park, or even the beach.
Types of Mobility Scooters
There are three basic mobility scooters that you can choose from.
Three Wheel Mobility Scooter
A three-wheel scooter features three wheels, two at the back, and one at the front.
It is a compact scooter that is ideal for indoor use. Its size allows it to maneuver through narrow hallways and aisles easily. It is the perfect scooter to take with you when you’re going grocery shopping, for instance.
However, a three-wheel scooter is not suitable for outdoor use. It is not as stable as a four-wheel or five-wheel ride and can easily topple over at sudden turns.
It is also not the most shock-absorbent vehicle, and the rider will feel every jerk and bump on the road or pavement, which can be uncomfortable.
Four-Wheel Mobility Scooter
Four-wheel scooters might not be as compact, but they are definitely more stable.
They feature two wheels at the front and two at the back. A four-wheel scooter is ideal for those who have balancing problems. They have a better shock-absorbing mechanism and are excellent for light outdoor use.
They are not as effortlessly maneuverable as three-wheel scooters, but they are significantly more durable.
Five-Wheel Mobility Scooters
These scooters combine the ease of use of three-wheel scooters as well as the balance of four-wheel scooters.
Five-wheel scooters have three wheels at the front and two at the back. One of the three wheels at the front is placed a little ahead of the others to make steering easier.
Mobility scooters offer multiple benefits to their users as compared to mobility chairs.
While both offer users with limited mobility, independence, and autonomy, scooters are priced lower and are more versatile as some are designed for outdoor usage.
Mobility scooters are designed for user transfer. With features like swiveling seats and foldable armrests, they become easier to use than wheelchairs.
For patients with arthritis, scooters allow for mild exertion, which helps keep them in shape. Powered wheelchairs can leave the patient with stiff limbs, further aggravating the ache in their joints.
The steering device on a scooter makes maneuvering more natural than the joystick on a wheelchair.
Combined with additional features like safety brakes and reverse paddles, it becomes the perfect vehicle for outdoor use. A four-wheel scooter is a lot more stable than a wheelchair.
Scooters require the user to maintain an upright posture for an elongated period. It also requires significant upper body strength, which could lead to backaches and even sciatica
They are not designed to provide much upper body support to the shoulders and head. This limits the length of time you can use the machine for.
Accessibility is another significant problem with a mobility scooter. Not all buildings feature ramps wide enough for a scooter.
Wheelchairs are easier to steer within premises because of their compactness. The length of a scooter increases its turn radius, which can limit its indoor use, especially in public buildings.
The power running out on a scooter is another concern.
Motor charging spots are not commonly available everywhere, and not all makes and models come with an additional storage unit for extra batteries.
It also limits the distance you can move to. Even if you step out of the house with a fully charged battery that can cover up to 30 miles, you cannot go further than 13 miles for safety reasons.
Being stranded in the middle of the road is not an ideal situation.
Despite all its pros and cons, a mobility scooter has significant benefits for people with limited mobility. It allows them the freedom to carry on with their daily tasks without having to depend on anyone.
We hope this article answers your questions on how to brake with mobility scooters and provides a bit of a guide on what features to look for when buying one.