Reaching the point where people begin to question your ability to safely drive a car can be a little scary- scenarios such as visiting friends and performing tasks like shopping are obviously made near impossible without method of transportation. Luckily there is a cost effective and safe solution for our seniors who have either lost or surrendered their licence. Electric scooters- sometimes called gophers, shopriders or buggies- are a perfect car replacement for getting to and from the shopping centre and tacking trips that a vehicle used to make.
Different states in Australia have varying laws which must be researched before a decision to buy is made. For example in Sydney electric scooters can be bought and used by anyone who has a legitimate medical reason to use one. They can legally be ridden anywhere a pedestrian can walk as long as the appropriate laws are obeyed, some of which being speed limited to 10km per hour, one person per scooter and remaining sober while driving. The state of NSW does not require these machines to be registered, there are no licensing requirements or mandatory insurances that need to be obtained.
Disability scooters come in all shapes and sizes- there are little boot scooters that can be broken apart to fit inside the back of a standard sedan, larger shop-ready scooters that are capable of travelling outdoors with greater ground clearance, to the biggest off-road machines that are used for rural work. These machines can range in price from anywhere between $1000 - $5000. These machines each come with their own range of features that dictate their primary purpose- for example an off-road scooter will be far too big to take inside a shopping centre, and a small transport scooter would not handle well outside at all.
Although in NSW there are not any legal requirements pertaining to buying a scooter, the retailer has a moral obligation to vet all potential drivers and ensure that they are competent. There has been some articles published recently that attacks scooters as a method of transportation; one statistic that is often thrown around is the number of deaths that occur whilst riding a scooter. A recent study shows that there have been approximately 80 fatalities over the past decade- what many of these studies do not factor in is that these users could have been travelling in a two-tonn car rather than a scooter that weighs 5% of this. A recent poll that was performed at a retirement village showed a number or residents who secretly admitted to driving unregistered due to the sheer size of the village and the restrictions on electric mobility equipment.
Mobility scooters are also rather inexpensive to keep maintained. Servicing should be performed roughly every 18 months with the major service item being the batteries. Scooters usually run two 12 volt batteries which can range anywhere from 10amp through to 100amp depening on the nature of the machine. The cost can range drastically depending on the size of the battery. Most machines of this nature use Sealed Lead Acid or Gel batteries that should be charged often. Leaving these batteries uncharged for more than 2-3 weeks can result in irreversible damage to the maximum potential range of the scooter.
The world of scooters can seem confusing and scary to someone that has never used one. If you would like more information on electric mobility scooters checkout the Mobility Shop at www.mobilityshop.com.au or call us on 1300 133 505.