How to Operate a Mobility Scooter Safely

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outdoor mobility scooter

You have made the investment in a mobility scooter. Congratulations! You have successfully taken the first step in ensuring your mobility independence. An outdoor mobility scooter affords you the luxury of going almost anywhere.

Perhaps you are still contemplating a specific purchase and are not sure what model best fits your lifestyle. Shopping for a mobility scooter is as exciting as it is empowering.

Whether you have already purchased or are still in the buying process, being at the advent of your own personal era of mobility freedom is an exciting proposition indeed.

Having your mobility freedom affords you the luxury of brighter days ahead to look forward to. The power of being able to travel anywhere freely sitting atop your scooter is a great thing indeed.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

But with great power comes great responsibility. Learning how to operate your mobility scooter safely is important and critical to your wellbeing. Don’t let your newfound freedom end up costing you your health, or your life.

With this handy guide, you will learn the dos and don’ts of mobility scooter operation. This operator’s guide will teach you the steps involved in operating your scooter safely.

When operated safely, an outdoor mobility scooter is a useful tool that can be a whole lot of fun to ride. If a mobility scooter is abused, mishandled, or ridden recklessly, however, it can turn into a deadly machine.

Roughly 100,000 mobility scooter-related accident victims per year are treated in emergency rooms throughout the United States. Don’t let your scooter turn you into just another statistic!

Learning how to operate a mobility scooter safely can be the difference between a long lifetime of fulfillment, or a quick and tragic end. The power of decision is in your hands; all you need is the right knowledge and advice.

Apply the following advice and allow your mobility scooter to enhance your golden years for the foreseeable future!

Choosing the Right Scooter

Some readers may have already obtained a scooter. In this case, well done! If you have not already purchased your ideal craft, selecting the right make and model is an important and fun endeavor.

There are a couple of questions that you may want to ask yourself while in the buying process. These questions will help you narrow down your choices when it comes to finding the perfect mobility scooter.

How Big is My Budget?

Mobility scooters can be a costly investment. The average price range for such a vehicle usually starts around $600 and can top out around $2000. The price depends a lot on the specific features or brand that you want.

What Features Do I Want?

The mobility scooter world is full of features. Some scooters possess higher top speeds, more powerful engines, better handling, and greater payload capacity. Others have self-folding or lightweight designs.

Some can carry multiple passengers or are specifically designed for off-roading and the all-terrain environment. The choice is yours when it comes to deciding what types of features are most important and relevant to your lifestyle.

A mobility scooter buyers guide is an excellent place to start when debating between what sorts of custom features you would like to see on your craft. Another major choice is deciding if you want an indoor mobility scooter or an outdoor one.

A crossover option may also be appropriate. Having an indoor versus an outdoor mobility scooter changes the features available immensely. It also has a major influence on the price.

Other Questions

Some other questions that you may want to ask yourself while in the buying process are:

  • Do I want a travel-capable scooter?
  • Is the scooter size appropriate for my residence? For myself?
  • Is a new or used scooter best for me?
  • Would I be interested in a rental or a payment plan?

Finding the right scooter may take a bit of research. Talking to some dealers or reading some online reviews will help you formulate other questions that may apply to your specific situation.

Safely Operating Your Mobility Scooter

Once you have successfully purchased your mobility scooter, you may be tempted to throw caution to the wind and go for a spin. Before doing this, it is imperative that you learn how to operate your newly purchased craft safely.

Following some basics of common sense like avoiding heavy traffic areas or inclement weather is a good start. But common sense alone won’t keep you safe in the dangerous world of mobility scooter travel.

Safely operating your mobility scooter means abiding by a set of standards and operating procedures. You must learn to craft a set of rules and protective guidelines that you can adopt and follow. The following advice can help you do just that.

Practice Makes Perfect With an Outdoor Mobility Scooter

Before taking your outdoor mobility scooter into the dynamic outdoor environment, practice using it within or in the immediate area of your home. You should get a feel for how the scooter rides.

This includes paying attention to the scooter’s turning radius, its acceleration capabilities, top speed, and nuances in handling. Take your scooter for a spin through a safe area like an empty parking lot or other empty open spaces.

You will want to get familiar with the idea of a center of gravity and properly positioning yourself on your scooter. This includes leaning into your turns properly to avoid crashing or falling off your scooter.

Start slow! Don’t take your scooter out of your comfort zone. Maintaining a slow and controlled approach to scooter riding is your safest bet when learning how to first ride it.

You may also want to become familiar with some of the specific features and modes that your mobility scooter has. Things like freewheel mode and push-too-fast mode can make your scooter safer and more functional.

Before they can enhance your mobility scooter experience, you first need to know what these modes do. You also need to know how to engage and disengage these modes correctly.

Consult your mobility scooter’s owner manual to understand its specific functions, modes, and features fully. The owner’s manual will tell you how to use each of these options safely.

Mobility Scooter – Infographic

 Mobility Scooter infographic

Outdoor Use

The outdoor world is full of variable terrain and dynamic conditions. In order to use your scooter safely recognizing where you should and shouldn’t operate your scooter is paramount.

Things that should inherently be avoided on your scooter include:

  • bodies of water
  • uneven or soft terrain
  • areas full of dense undergrowth or tall grass
  • areas with loose sand or gravel
  • highways
  • railroads
  • high traffic areas
  • steep inclines or declines

You also may want to avoid areas that are excessively icy or covered with deep snow. The terrain that is accessible to your scooter is often hinged on your scooter’s features and all-terrain capabilities.

Operating in a Pedestrian Environment

If you are operating your scooter on the city sidewalk or street, your risk level goes up substantially. Your scooter has most likely been designed to operate on bike paths or the sidewalk, so avoid driving it on the road as much as possible.

When operating on sidewalks, keep your speed low and your interactions polite with fellow pedestrians. Pass with care and always signal your intention. Obey all local pedestrian traffic laws and signs. Always maintain high visibility.

Some states have specific laws in regards to operating your scooter on the street or sidewalk. It is always good to research the laws in your area regarding your scooter before operating it to avoid any unpleasant legal hassles.

Knowing Your Scooter’s Specific Capabilities

Your scooter’s owner manual will tell you it’s specific capabilities when it comes to dealing with obstacles such as excessive inclines or declines. It will also tell you the level of ability your scooter has to deal with steps, curbs, or bumps.

When climbing a step or curb, make sure to know the maximum height of a bump your scooter can clear safely. Clearance specifications for a specific scooter can be found in its manual.

When riding over a bump, approach the bump head-on with no angle at a slow speed. Bring your front wheels over the bump first and engage the throttle gracefully once the back wheels have made contact.

Bumps, curbs, and steps can be a major cause for unnecessary falls on scooters, so make sure to operate within your comfort zone. Thoroughly consulting your owner’s manual will give you a good idea of your scooter’s specific capabilities.

Operating Indoors

Tight spacing is your primary concern when operating your scooter inside. Make sure to keep your speed down and your home clear of obstructions. This will lead to less potential for an accident.

Many scooters have a low-speed setting that may be appropriate for indoor use. When operating your scooter indoors, you must do everything slower and more meticulously.

Go Forth and Conquer

Now that you know the safety basics of operating your outdoor mobility scooter, you are ready to try it out in the outside world. As long as you create and follow your own set of safety guidelines using what you learned, the world is your oyster.

Taking your personal mobility into your own hands with a mobility scooter is life-changing. Make the most of your life by purchasing a mobility scooter today! You owe it to yourself to take back your freedom.

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