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How to choose the right mobility scooter

When a parent begins to have issues with their mobility it can be a hard thing for them to accept and adjust to. If they’re having trouble getting out and about unaided it may be time for them to invest in a mobility scooter to help them on their way.

If you and your parent are confused by the range of mobility scooters on the market we share the top 8 things to bear in mind when buying as well as where to look for more information to help you make the right decision.

What type of scooter should my parent buy?

It may seem simple to select a scooter to suit your parent’s needs but there are many factors to consider before purchase. Depending on your parent’s height, weight and build they may prefer a small, medium and large scooter for comfort and support while travelling.

How far they typically travel and how often, whether they’ll need to traverse public roads, high kerbs or steep hills and their ability to get on and off the scooter unaided can all affect your parent’s choice.

Lifestyle habits such as travelling with family, how much shopping they regularly buy and whether they’ll need to use their scooter to get around their home will dictate the type of model your parent will need to buy. Registered mobility charity Motability has a set of useful checklists to help you and your parent choose the right scooter for them.

Where can my parent drive their scooter?

The type of scooter your parent has will determine where they can and can’t drive. There are two basic types: Class 2 and Class 3. Class 2 “Invalid Carriages” can only be used on the pavement and have a maximum speed of 4mph while Class 3 “Invalid Carriages” can be used both on and off the road with a maximum speed of 4mph off the road and 8mph on the road.

Does my parent need a license to drive a scooter?

While your parent doesn’t need a driving license to operate their scooter if it belongs in Class 3 they’ll have to register it with the DVLA and apply for a “nil value” tax disc to display at all times. You or your parent can order a form from the DVLA – a V55/4 for a new scooter or a V55/5 for a used scooter – to register their Class 3 vehicle.

Does my parent need insurance to drive a scooter?

Unlike driving a car your parent doesn’t need to have insurance to be able to operate a scooter as it’s not legally required by the DVLA. However it is recommended that they buy specialist mobility scooter cover to protect them from theft or damage as well as insuring them to use their scooter abroad. Both Fish and Chartwell have comprehensive insurance packages for scooter users which have been recommended by Disabled Motoring UK.

Does my parent need lessons to driver a scooter?

While a mobility scooter may be easier to drive than a car it’s important to ensure your parent’s a confident user to avoid potential risk to their wellbeing as well as that of the general public should they have an accident.

In June the BBC highlighted that the rise in mobility scooter users had led to some questionable driving and an increase in scooter related accidents across the UK. With our ageing population now using more modes of mobility transport to keep them on the go local councils and police forces have begun offering driving courses specifically for scooter users to help keep the streets safe!

Is my parent entitled to a scooter free of charge?

If your parent receives the enhanced rate of the mobility component of Personal Independence Payments (PIP), formerly known as Disability Living Allowance, they could be entitled to lease a scooter through the Motability Scheme.

In order to receive a scooter via this scheme your parent will have had to have their health needs assessed as part of the PIP claims process and be under the age of 64. These conditions are quite limiting but may help a few of us get our parents moving again.

If your parent is in receipt of a War Disablement Pension they may also be entitled to a War Pensioners Mobility Supplement as part of their pension credits which means they should be eligible for the Motability Scheme.

If your parent is disabled they can also apply for a Blue Badge from their local council to help them park closer to shops and amenities in their community for easy access.

How much does a scooter cost?

Depending on the make and model of a mobility scooter the price can vary quite considerably. A more basic scooter is usually priced between £500 – £1000, middle of the range scooters can cost £1000 – £1500, and the all-singing, all-dancing scooters can set your parent back anything between £1500-£2500.

Can they take their scooter on holiday with them?

Most airlines allow disabled flyers to travel with up to 2 items of mobility equipment free of charge and separate to their baggage allowance which is great for parents who’d prefer to take their own mobility scooter with them on holiday.

Many holiday resorts now offer mobility scooters that your parent can hire for the duration of their stay rather than having the hassle of travelling with their own from home. Mobility Equipment Hire Direct has a comprehensive database of mobility scooters in holiday destinations across the UK and abroad that can be delivered to your parent’s accommodation upon their arrival and hired for as little as £50 a week.

If you found this article helpful, why not join the family?

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