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Mobility scooters

A lady riding a mobility scooter

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.

Follow this link to the ACCC-NRMA report on mobility scooter usage in Australia (released on 6 September 2012)

Tips

There are various tips to consider when riding a mobility scooter. Follow these tips to keep yourself and others around you safe.

Statistics

  • 442 hospitalisations related to motorised mobility scooter fall injuries from July 2006 to June 2008
  • 62 identified fatalities related to motorised mobility scooters from July 2000 to August 2010 in Australia

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