I am thinking of getting my mom a mobility scooter . If anybody has any experience with them I would love to hear. I am particularly concerned about stability. Should I get a four wheeled version? What brand did you get?
I’m paraplegic and have used a scooter as well as a manual wheelchair for over 15 years. The scooter is much easier to go shopping alone with; I got a large front basket and I can also stuff things down at my feet.
Expect in the range of 20 miles to the charge depending on the model and the battery type, assuming the scooter and batteries are in good condition. If you plan to travel with it, make sure you get gel-cells and not traditional lead acid batteries that have the liquid electrolyte (dilute sulphuric acid - lovely stuff). Airlines will make life much more inconvenient for you if you try to travel with liquid lead acid batteries (and in any case gel-cells don’t spill if your scooter falls over).
If you use or plan to use disabled transport (called different things in different cities - those minibuses with the lifts that transit systems use for disabled clients that can’t use ordinary buses), try to make sure there are proper attachments for the tie-downs that the bus will use. Mine doesn’t so the driver hooks the tie-downs to my seat and around the front post, but I have had some nasty comments about that and I am technically breaking the rules of our system if some driver ever gets sufficiently anal about the rules.
If you plan to transport it yourself, get one that comes apart easily, preferably without tools. All put together including batteries, those things are heavy, so if you can disassemble it it will make transporting it a lot easier.
My scooter is 3 wheeled. I tipped it a few times in the beginning, and subsequently tipped it a few times when I hit an ice rut wrong in the winter, but I am most definitely not a particularly careful person. Three wheeled ones are a bit more maneuverable and I wouldn’t worry about tipping as long as you exercise sensible caution.
Oops - nearly forgot to mention. Mine is a Fortress 2001 LX. However that won’t help you a lot. That model isn’t made any more. A dealer told me that they are supposed to last about 5 years; I got at least triple that out of mine and that is with heavy use (and abuse).
Second everything that Canadjun said, which I was trying to get typed out but was having computer problems. My wife had two scooters, a Fortress and a PaceSaver (one we’d bought used after months of our insurance company insisting that they wouldn’t pay for one, only to finally accede to our doctor’s insistence that it wasx medically necessary three weeks later. We did have to replace the batteries on one of them after a few years, but otherwise had no problems with either. Both disassembled fairly easily, which we did quite a lot for a while as we traveled frequently.
Tipping wasn’t much of a problem with our three-wheeled ones, as long as my wife didn’t try to drive it off a curb (she had vision problems and as they got worse she had a little trouble navigating). Also, you want to make sure you have it turned off when getting on and off; it’s real easy to grab the handle-mounted controls wrong and start it rolling at just the wrong time.
We sell them.
Our technician will match the person to the scooter, asking the customer what range they’ll be traveling, what kind of terrain (hills / steep curbs / country roads etc).
Mainly, he’s said that the size of the motor and scooter frame will depend on the weight and size of the customer - the terrain will determine the height of the wheel base and the range determines the size of the battery(ies).
Four wheels are definitely more stable than three.
Just make sure that the people you’re buying from are really interested in your mom and what she needs.
They should have a service warranty and either a pick-up option or a local service provider who does pick-ups. We also have loaner scooters if the service/ repair will take more than a day.
Check your area for rentals, too. It could be a good idea to test out a scooter for a month or so to make sure your mom can handle all aspects of it.
I hope it works out. Our customers generally get a whole new lease on life as their ability to get out and about increases.