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Mobility Scooter Tips and Resources

4 Useful Tips about Mobility Scooters

Ground clearance is the space under the scooter, between the wheels. Ground clearance is important in order to avoid getting stuck when going over bumps or rough terrain. Travel/portable scooters generally have less space underneath than full-sized scooters. Specialty scooters (such as heavy-duty models) may have even higher ground clearance. If you know that you will be traveling on rough terrain, or have an obstacle (e.g., a door threshold) that you routinely encounter, select a mobility scooter with higher ground clearances.

Incline—The maximum incline for mobility scooters is the maximum angle that they can travel up an incline with all the wheels on the ground. This is important for people who live in hilly places, have a steep driveway or an accessibility ramp to traverse. Travel/portable scooters have the smallest maximum incline range (6 to 8 degrees). The range for full-sized and heavy-duty scooters is generally the same (6 to 12 degrees).

Speed—Most travel/portable mobility scooters can reach speeds between 4 and 5 mph. Full-sized scooters can reach about 6 mph, and heavy-duty scooters about 8 mph. Please exercise caution while traveling at any speed in your mobility scooter. Slow down and be careful when rounding corners. Three- or four-wheels scooters can tip when taking corners at high speeds. A safe speed for most mobility scooters traveling on sidewalks is about 4 mph.

Sitting upright—To operate a mobility scooter safely, the user must be able to sit upright for an extended period of time. If this is not possible, it may be better to consider a power wheelchair that provides more support to the body.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mobility Scooters

How far can I go on my mobility scooter before I have to charge it?

How far you can go on one battery charge will depend on things such as: the weight that the scooter is carrying, the terrain that you are traveling on (smooth or rough), how fast you are traveling and if the battery is properly charged. When manufacturers provide a range, they are assuming that the scooter is traveling on a smooth, flat surface, using brand new tires, new fully charged batteries and that the user weighs 150 lb. or less and not carrying anything else with him/her (like groceries). Full-sized three- and four-wheel scooters have a longer travel range than travel/portable scooters.

What is the difference between a mobility scooter and power wheelchair?

Both mobility scooters and power wheelchairs may be used indoors and outdoors, but mobility scooters are generally for outdoor use and power wheelchairs for indoor use. Mobility scooters are controlled by tillers, and most power wheelchairs are controlled by joysticks. People that use mobility scooters must be able to sit upright for long periods of time. If that is not possible, power wheelchairs are a better choice since the seats offer more support.

Is there funding available for mobility scooters?

In the U.S., funding is available through Medicare part B if it’s medically necessary and prescribed by a doctor. In Canada, funding is available provincially and eligibility requirements may differ from province to province. Community and other non-profit organizations may offer financial assistance as well.