Mobility scooters usually have three or four wheels attached to a frame supporting a chair and a steering wheel. People who are mobile enough to operate mobility scooters but are challenged when walking distances generally use these products. Mobility scooters are also known as motorised wheelchairs, motor chairs, buggies or gophers.
Most mobility scooters are safe if used appropriately. But there is an emerging trend in Australia of death and serious injury associated with the use of mobility scooters, particularly among older people. Death and serious injury can occur when users do not have the necessary strength, physical ability and understanding to operate and manoeuvre mobility scooters safely, including:
enough hand strength and movement to use the controls, steer and turn the scooter
the ability to turn turn their head to look to the side and behind
balance when riding on bumpy or rough ground
the ability to sit for periods of time and change the position of their body when going up and down inclines
sound vision and hearing to notice vehicles and pedestrians approaching and to judge distances
the ability to concentrate for the entire period of the journey and to react quickly enough to stop and turn suddenly if necessary
knowledge of safety procedures and the ability to exercise patience in crowded areas such as shopping centres.