Your Wheelchair and Mobility Scooter Resource
Wednesday, May 5th, 2010 at 9:55 am
Limited mobility and difficulty getting around are two common problems for the elderly. Often, conditions such as arthritis result in difficulty walking, especially over long distances, which can make keeping up with the grandchildren impossible. This is one of the reasons that many seniors use mobility scooters, which provide a motorized base that can make it possible to travel miles and miles, with only the push of a button.
Mobility scooters are similar to electric wheelchairs, at least in regards to functionality, and electric scooters were first developed in the 1960′s, which is around the same time that the first electric wheelchair was developed. However, while the functionality of a power chair is similar to that of an electric mobility scooter, they feature a design that is much different. This difference in design is in part because where electric wheelchairs are designed for those who can not walk at all, mobility scooters are intended to be provide a supplement to walking.
Most mobility scooters feature a long base, with a chair mounted towards the rear of the base, above the electric motor and batteries. A set of handlebars, called a tiller, is installed on the front of the electric scooter and is used to control the direction and speed of the scooter. As a result, however, it is not possible to drive a adult scooter directly up to a table or desk the same way you can with a wheelchair.
There are a number of different types of electric scooters, with Pride Mobility and Golden Technologies being two of the more well known brands. Both of these companies offer a large line of mobility scooters that are intended to fill different needs, with Pride Mobility Scooters and Golden Mobility Scooters being some of the most reliable and well made ones around. Of course, there are many other manufacturers of adult scooters, including ShopRider, who offers several lines of low priced electric scooters.
With the many different models, manufacturers, and options available, it is easy to become overwhelmed when you begin shopping for a mobility scooter, but they can be classified by the number of wheels, weight capacity, and function. Understanding these classifications and their advantages can make buying a mobility scooter, even when buying online, much easier.
The intended function of the scooter is one of the most common ways that these devices are classified and if you visit any reputable online retailer, you will surely see an option to sort them by travel scooters, standard scooters, and heavy duty scooters.
A travel scooter is a mobility scooter that is designed to be as lightweight as possible and be broken down into several easy to manage pieces. As a result, it is seldom necessary to use a scooter lift to transport a travel scooter, as it can be quickly and easily disassembled, with the heaviest piece usually weighing less than 30 pounds. However, to cut weight, these scooters have reduced features and a much lower weight capacity, as well as often being less powerful and having a shorter range. This means a travel scooter is often not the best choice for an everyday driver.
Heavy Duty Scooters are on the other end of the scale, designed to support the most amount of weight and be driven over much rougher terrain. They usually are much larger, featuring a big captains chair, higher top speeds, larger tires, and many other features, such as improved bumpers and reinforced structures. A heavy duty scooter can be a great choice for those who like spending time outdoors, as they are the most versatile and can be driven over most types of ground. This versatility comes at a cost, however, as their large size means it is necessary to use a scooter lift to transport them and that they are not always as well suited for the tight corners of a home. Heavy duty scooters are also the most expensive type of scooter.
Standard Mobility Scooters form a nice middle ground, offering improved weight and power capacities over a travel scooter, while being smaller and easier to manage than a heavy duty scooter. For everyday use, a standard scooter is usually a good choice, as it has a long range, is very reliable, and includes a lot of features that are taken out of a travel scooter to reduce weight.
The number of wheels, either three or four, a mobility scooter is another way that they are classified. Three wheeled mobility scooter are lighter in weight, so many travel scooters use a three wheel design. Three wheel scooters are also more maneuverable, as they have a smaller turning radius.
Four wheel scooters are a little heavier than other scooters and not quite as maneuverable, but because the weight is more evenly distributed, they tend to be more stable. As a result, most heavy duty scooters are four wheeled.