Choosing the right tool for the job is critical for getting that job done. The same is true for choosing the right mobility scooter. Your safety is the most important thing when choosing a power scooter. You can be injured by riding a scooter that’s not appropriate for your needs or riding it in a way not recommended, so we have written this article to help you make an informed decision about the best scooter for your needs.
The average person who relies on a mobility scooter to get around typically keeps their scooter for four to six years. During that time your body and mobility needs can change.
In our previous blog, How to Buy a Mobility Scooter, you learned about the many in’s and out’s of choosing the right scooter. Now we will do a deeper dive into the long term ownership and safety considerations for choosing the RIGHT scooter because your safety is our primary concern at Living Well Stores.
When viewing the many mobility scooters that we offer, it’s easy to get caught up in the machine’s sexy lines, vibrant frame colors and the realization that a power scooter can set you free if immobility has limited you up to now.
Let’s get real about how you plan to use the scooter.
Not just at first. But long term.
We must talk about TWO sensitive topics. Do I have your attention?
The first is the scooter's weight capacity.
The Washington Post reports that the average person typically gains 1 to 2 pounds per year from early adulthood through middle age. Someone who is sedentary due to mobility limitations may exceed those statistics. When you invest in a mobility scooter not only should you consider your current weight, but what your weight might be over the life of the scooter, i.e. the next four to six years. Honestly examine your weight history and project what it could be in the future.
Here is an example of the weight specifications for one of our Pride Mobility 4-Wheel Scooters.
As you can see, the rider capacity is 400 pounds, with a maximum distance per charge of 15.5 miles. Consider that if you are carrying groceries or other items with you on the scooter, you have just increased your overall weight.
The second sensitive topic is, of course, money. We frequently hear from customers who want to save money and purchase a scooter with a 300 lb. weight capacity, even though they weigh 290 lbs. or more. They say they’re not THAT far over the maximum weight capacity or that they expect to lose weight. Exceeding the weight capacity of a scooter, at minimum, is guaranteed to result in disappointing battery range, but can even result in the frame failing, causing the rider injury!
Our knowledgeable customer service associates recommend not exceeding 90% of the rated rider capacity when selecting your scooter. So, for example, if you’re considering a scooter with a maximum weight capacity of 300 lbs, the rider and what they might carry should not exceed 270 lbs. A scooter with the correct weight specifications for your needs sets you up for success over the long term of ownership. This higher capacity is also a safer choice when you add on how you will be traveling on your scooter.
Check out Living Well Stores Buy Now – Pay Later program as an option to financing and purchasing the best scooter for you.
Navigating Your Neighborhood. Once you gain the sense of freedom provided by a power scooter, you will find that you have the desire to go further and be more adventurous on your scooter. Perhaps you even want to go “off road,” meaning off the pavement onto natural terrain.
Are you buying a scooter to supplement travel by car? Will you need to take the mobility scooter with you?
Are you buying a scooter to replace some travel by car? Perhaps you plan to use your scooter to navigate to a nearby shopping center.
A word of caution: Mobility scooters were not designed to replace the automobile. If you are looking for a way to travel to your nearby shopping center, buy groceries, then return home, compact scooters such as the Drive Scout or Pride Go-Go will not work for you.
These economical, lightweight scooters are meant to serve casual, low impact needs, such as transportation within the grocery store or getting around Disney World. They are designed to be driven on smooth, even surfaces such as tile, carpet, smooth, unbroken concrete or peas-size gravel. Because they are designed to come apart and are lightweight, they are NOT designed for all day, continuous use across rough or uneven surfaces. In the end, using a compact scooter in this manner will cause the batteries and tires will quickly wear out and you will be a very unhappy customer.
We want every customer to be happy with our products, but the inappropriate use of the product could put the safety of you and others in jeopardy. We encourage you to read here, How to Buy a Mobility Scooter, about the different categories of mobility scooters before making your purchase.
Think about what is involved in traveling to the neighborhood store by scooter. All of these considerations involve your safety and the type of scooter you buy in terms of battery life and durability:
Once you get to the store, will you be making purchases that you will carry home with you? Each scooter has a maximum weight capacity. Exceeding that weight capacity causes the battery to drain faster and reduces the life of the tires. If your battery dies on the way home, what then? Keep in mind the "90% of capacity rule" to maximize battery life.
Do these scenarios describe how you will use your scooter? They were written to be somewhat extreme examples, but they are based on our experience with how some people really use their scooters, and potential pitfalls if the scooter is not designed for the type of use you have planned for it.
Think Long Term. If you have been following our blogs about how to purchase a scooter, you realize there are many considerations on choosing the RIGHT scooter for your needs. By carefully thinking through these features you will make the smart decision on your scooter. We encourage you to read our other educational articles on selecting a mobility scooter and contact our customer service representatives – humans who actually answer the phone – to discuss your options and answer any questions.