Mobility Scooter 101: Everything You Need To Know About Scooters For Disabled & Elderly

May 31, 2021 12 min read

Mobility Scooter 101: Everything You Need To Know About Scooters For Disabled & Elderly

Mobility scooters are useful tools for those who are disabled or elderly. They encourage independence while keeping you safe. Despite their benefits, they can be a bit tricky to use, especially if it’s your first one. 

This post will explain some of the most pivotal information to contemplate. You’ll find everything from the different scooter types to how to get scooter insurance. To learn more, keep reading. 

Types of Scooters

During your search, you’ll discover four types. 

Three-Wheel

A three-wheel scooter utilizes three wheels around its base. There are two in the back and one on the front. Three-wheel scooters can move up to eight miles per hour. 

These models are somewhat delicate. Due to this, you’ll only want to use them indoors or on smooth outdoor surfaces. Riding one along a bumpy terrain or long distances could overwhelm its battery.

Four-Wheel

This type uses four wheels which gives it good stability. There are two wheels on the front and back of the scooter. Because of their size, they have a wider turning radius compared to three-wheel ones. While not built entirely for rough landscapes, it can be used outdoors. 

Travel

A travel scooter is designed for portability. Many times, they will have three wheels. But, sometimes, they will be built with four. 

Because of their design, travel scooters are often compact. This way, they won’t take up space in a car. It will also help you move through narrow or crowded spaces with ease. 

All-Terrain

If you need a scooter that can cross all landscapes this is the one you’ll want. All-terrain scooters are a bit bulky but this is to ensure it moves well. Because the tires go through most of the wear-and-tear they need to be well-built. This is why they’re constructed with thick rubber. If they happen to roll over sharp objects they won’t pop. 

Which Scooter Model Is Best For Me?

With all the options, it can be difficult to find the right version. Here are a handful of aspects to ponder before buying one. 

Why You Need It

The most vital thing to consider is the scooter’s purpose. Do you only need it for moving outdoors? Is it necessary for most of your transportation needs? When you establish the purpose of your scooter you can quickly narrow your search. 

Its Size

Scooters come in many sizes. These range from small, compact ones to bulky heavy-duty ones. While they serve the same purpose, they do so in different ways. 

A tiny scooter is fitting for those who need to travel or have one for their living space. This is typically a three-wheel scooter. The mini scooter can fold and is very lightweight so you can easily transport it. 

If you want to explore the outdoors, a stronger model, like an all-terrain scooter, would be best. It’s bigger and can safely cross various environments. Because of its size, it’s not adequate to use within your home. 

Your Budget

You’ll want to brainstorm your expenses. Scooters can be affordable but there are pricey ones. 

Reviewing your financial information can help you pinpoint a good price range. It will also help you decide if you might need monetary assistance. This could be from Medicare or Social Security. 

Its Features

A scooter’s details are crucial to probe. While there are innumerable settings available, some to especially look for are:

  • A battery indicator
  • Different driving modes
  • A basket
  • Headlights
  • Turning signals
  • Medical equipment holders

Besides these, look carefully at its safety characteristics. While these will vary, most will have reflectors and a speed limiter. 

How Do I Know If I Need a Mobility Aid?

If you have difficulty moving, you’ll need a mobility tool. Some signs you might need one are:

  • You’ve experienced many falls in the past months.
  • You have a disability that makes it hard to move long distances.
  • You’re taking medication that causes weakness. 

You can often buy a mobility aid on your own. To find one, visit local suppliers or order one online. In some cases, you might need a doctor’s approval. This is especially so if you’re applying to get a free mobility device. 

What is a Mobility Disability?

This disability affects your gross motor skills and fine motor movements. Common mobility disabilities include:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Spina Bifida
  • Heart defects
  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia 

Can I Receive a Free Mobility Tool?

If you can’t afford a scooter, there are a few alternatives where you can get a complimentary one. 

Medicare 

One way to receive a scooter is through Medicare. This process will vary depending on your needs. 

Those under 65 can apply for Medicare through Part A and Part B. For seniors, you’ll need to use Medicare Part B. 

Part A

This section focuses on care done in a reputable medical center. Some aspects it covers include lab tests, surgery, and in-hospital treatments. 

Part B

Medicare Part B is insurance. While meant mainly for seniors, it can be utilized by younger people with a doctor’s approval. Part B will assist you with purchasing medical equipment. 

How Do I Apply For Medicare?

To get Medicare you’ll need to visit your doctor. They’ll perform a special test that’s required by this insurance company. During the exam, your doctor will examine some things. These are:

  • Your upper and lower body strength
  • Your heart rate
  • Your breathing rate

They’ll also need to explain why a scooter is necessary rather than a cane or walker. 

Once this is done, your doctor will send it to the Medicare office. They’ll then review your request and contact you if you’ve been approved. 

What Happens If I’m Denied Coverage?

If your request is declined, don’t worry. Medicare ignoring it is normally due to two things. One is an inadequate doctor’s report. It could also revolve around your financial situation. 

If your doctor didn’t put enough information on the test, Medicare could pass over you. Sometimes, your physician might put details on it that contradict your application. 

As for finances, if you make a certain revenue, Medicare might deny you. The company is focused on helping those of a specific income purchase these devices. If you make a certain amount, they might be suspicious about it. 

Medicare will reply to your appeal in three weeks. If you don’t hear back within this time, it was probably denied. You can contact the office to learn why, but they don’t usually disclose this information. 

You can try taking another test with a different doctor or appeal Medicare’s decision. If you choose the latter, it might take some time, but the company must legally relook at your request. 

If these still don’t work, you’ll probably need to think about using Social Security or a charity. 

Social Security

Social Security can provide you with a completely free scooter. But, because of this, it tends to be very popular. If you apply through it, you’ll need to wait a while for an answer. On the other hand, you might be denied because there are too many applicants. 

Social Security might require you to pay a small fee. This amount is somewhat lower though than Medicare’s premium. 

A Charity

You could try to get a scooter through a charity. While there’s no promise you will, they’ll usually supply it for free. 

To find a foundation, you’ll want to search locally or browse online. This can help you settle on the right option to apply to. 

Keep in mind that some might have strict regulations. Before getting one, a charity might ask that you:

  • Explain in detail why the scooter is necessary
  • Give basic financial information
  • Have a doctor’s approval 

While this might sound like a lot, it’s to prevent people from taking advantage of their generosity. It guarantees that those who need the scooter can get it. 

Can I Buy One?

Paying out-of-pocket for a scooter is completely fine. If you pay the full price, you won’t have to worry about extra fees or making monthly payments. 

If you want to buy one but are unable to afford it at the time, most suppliers can work with you. They can create payment segments that need to be paid at a certain time. 

Are Rentals Available?

Rentals are sometimes obtainable. Still, not all suppliers offer it. If you want a scooter rental, search for a distributor that provides it. 

Renting a scooter is optimal if you don’t qualify for a free one or can’t buy it. While you’ll need to pay a certain amount, it’s usually much more affordable than purchasing one. 

Safety First - How to Use a Mobility Scooter

Before you hop on one you’ll want to keep a few things in mind. 

1. Take Time to Practice 

A scooter is easy to use but it will take some time to get used to. Rather than taking it for a drive immediately, practice controlling it. This will give you a better understanding of how the device works. 

Ideally, use the scooter in an open space. This could be outdoors in a driveway or indoors in a large room. Practice moving it forward and reversing it. You’ll also need to learn how to turn it. 

Once this is done, move on to more challenging areas. These include ramps and sidewalks. 

2. Don’t Speed

After you get used to your scooter it can be tempting to go fast. It’s important to not do so unless necessary. Driving quickly on certain surfaces or in bumpy sections can be dangerous. 

If you need to go fast, find a smooth surface. You can then slowly accelerate the scooter. Don’t do quick movements as it could throw it off balance. 

3. Make Yourself Visible

If you plan to travel along a road, make yourself obvious. Use vibrant flags and reflectors around the scooter’s exterior. You’ll also want to wear a bright vest. This will alert drivers to you and help keep you safe. 

4. Always Pay Attention to Your Surroundings

Scooters should be treated as if they’re a car. You should always be aware of your surroundings. This will protect you and others. 

Apart from this, never use your phone or another device when driving. This can be a huge distraction. If you’re not attentive, you might accidentally run into someone or something. You might also tip your scooter over and fall off. 

5. Follow Road Signs

You should always follow road rules. If you see a stop sign, stop at it. If there’s a yield, yield at the spot. By ignoring them, you put both yourself and others at risk. In some jurisdictions, you might be fined if you don’t obey them. 

6. Wear a Helmet

If you’re nervous about falling or are still getting used to the scooter, wear a helmet. This can protect your head should you topple over. A helmet can also guard you from flying debris if you drive down uneven landscapes. 

Are Mobility Devices Allowed on a Roadway in the US?

Most of the time these scooters are allowed on the road. But, some rules need to be followed. 

You can only drive a Class 2 or 3 model on a highway. The scooter must reach at least eight miles per hour. Anything less than this can be very dangerous and could endanger you and others.

Overall, it’s probably best to not use your scooter on a busy road. Drivers might not see you and you’ll have to watch out for hazards. These include potholes, passing cars, and pedestrians.

Where Can You Use These Mobility Tools?

Most places welcome scooters. These include:

  • Supermarkets
  • Trains
  • Buses

Most are mobility-scooter friendly, but some might not be. If this is the case, they might insist you leave your device outside. 

You’ll need to check beforehand to see if the vehicle or shop is big enough. If the aisles are small, you might not have enough room to turn. You might also damage your scooter if you can’t move freely in it. 

Can They Go Uphill?

These appliances can climb hills. However, some don’t always do a good job at this.

For instance, a small option, like a three-wheel scooter, could wear down trying to go up a steep incline. This is because its battery isn’t designed for this. 

An all-terrain scooter can usually go uphill. Its strong motor generates enough power so the wheels can quickly move upward. 

When you move uphill go slowly but use a steady mileage. If you need to brake, carefully press on the lever to bring your device to a stop. 

Remember, while most can go up an incline, if the slope is too slanted, it could flip the scooter. If this is the case, you’ll need to find a different pathway. 

How to Charge One

Scooter batteries need to be faithfully charged. If you don’t, the power will quickly decrease. This could cause the scooter to randomly stop working. 

To charge a scooter first turn it off. Once it is, connect the charger to the scooter and then to a power outlet. You should see the scooter’s battery indicator light up. During the process, this light will continue to shine either red or orange. When you see it turn green, the battery has full power. You can then unplug the charger. 

Can You Overcharge a Battery?

This device’s batteries can be overcharged. If you leave it plugged in for more than 12 hours there could be a surge. This can zap the battery and cause its wires to fizzle out. 

To prevent this, only charge the battery for about 6-10 hours. Once you notice the charger light turns green, unplug it. 

Caring For Your Mobility Gadget

To ensure your device stays durable it’s key to maintain it. Here are some ways you can do so. 

1. Perform Regular Inspections

One way to keep it in good condition is to frequently check it. 

Some aspects you’ll especially want to look at include:

  • The tires
  • The braking system
  • Its engine

If you notice something strange, call your supplier. They can review the device and determine if further action is needed. 

You could try fixing minor issues yourself. If your tires have low pressure, pump them up. If a headlight needs a new bulb, replace it. These are simple to do and can save you from having to pay someone else.  

2. Clean It

Another way to keep your scooter flawless is to wash it. While you don’t want to pour water over it, you’ll need to occasionally scrub it. You can take a damp rag and cleanse the outer shell. If you have dirt patches or grease marks, you could add a bit of soap to it. When you clean it with water or soap, make sure to fully dry the device. Otherwise, it could rust. 

Besides cleaning its exterior also check its engine. If you notice dust or dirt near it, take a brush and swipe the fragments out. This can avert the particles from sneaking into the motor which they could wear down. 

While you’ll want to do deep cleans every month you can do quick ones. After each ride, use a disinfectant wipe on the seat and the handlebars. This will remove sweat, germs, and other particles. 

3. Store It In a Safe Place

Keeping your scooter in a sheltered area is essential if you want it to stay sturdy. It’s recommended you store it indoors where you can watch it. 

You don’t want to keep your scooter outdoors. Weather elements and animals could harm it. If you must keep it out of your home, build a secure shelter for it. You could invest in a small scooter shed to park it in. 

Wherever you end up leaving it, place a cover over the exterior. This can guard it against scratches and dents. It will also stop dust build-up and reflect pesky UV rays away. 

4 Ways to Increase Its Speed

There are some options you can use to extend a scooter’s pace. Here are four.

1. Remove the Speed Limiter

To keep you safe, these tools have speed limiters. Because of this, most won’t go faster than eight miles per hour. But, if you prefer a fast-moving scooter, you can remove it. 

To start, make sure your device is turned off. Then, scan your motor. You should see a small set of red and blue wires attached. These are connected to a small black cap on the engine. Gently pull the black insert out. You’ve now removed the speed limiter. 

Remember, once you take out the limiter your scooter will be speedy. You must use caution when driving it. 

2. Add a New Battery

If you’re not comfortable with dislodging the speed limiter you could try to add another battery. This will double the scooter’s power. It can also increase the device’s mileage. Before installing it, verify that it matches the original battery. Otherwise, it could blow a fuse. 

3. Rewind the Motor

Another option is to reverse the motor. This will loosen certain windings that allow the scooter to only go a certain limit. 

This is a somewhat complicated option. Unless you have the strong technical knowledge, it’s best to not try this first. If you favor this method, ask your supplier for help. 

4. Replace the Tires

The tires give scooter friction. If the treads aren’t strong, you might go slower than you desire. By using tires with thick treads or those that are airless, it will give you better momentum. Better yet, these tires tend to be made of high-quality materials. This ensures they’re long-lasting.

To Conclude

These scooters provide disabled and elderly people with independence. They not only keep you safe but help you quickly get around. While there’s a lot to learn about them, they’re simple to use. By considering this information, you can easily figure out the best one for your needs. 

If you’re on the search for a mobility device, Everlasting Mobility can help. We offer a vast selection of durable scooters that come with plenty of features. They’re also comfortable so they’ll be pleasant to use. 

Waed Ali
Waed Ali


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