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by The Forgotten Paradise of Ardonii. . 148 reads.

Mobility Scooter - Friend of the Old (best viewed in Rift/Mobile)

Mobility Scooter

Friend of the Old


As older people start to have difficulty in walking many choose to use a mobility scooter to help them move around. Benefitting from improved design, mobility scooters are becoming an increasingly popular mobility device and are a common sight on many streets. However, very little is known about their usage or their impact in terms of either quality of life or functional health.

This factbook is a state-of-the-art review. It describes the current research knowledge on mobility scooters, shows where gaps in knowledge exist and where future research needs to focus.


The first mobility scooter was called The Amigo, a name as dear as its origin story. Plumber Allan R. Thieme invented the first power-operated scooter in 1968. Frustrated with the mobility options available to a family member with multiple sclerosis, Thieme spent nights building the small yellow scooter in his garage in Bridgeport, Michigan. The finished product scooted along at 34 miles per hour. Thieme named it The Amigo, the friendly wheelchair.

The brand still operates today, but is just a tiny player in what has become a massive assistive technology industry one thats making people a lot of money. As life expectancy skyrockets and public attitudes about disability improve, the market for products like mobility scooters has multiplied exponentially.


Mobility scooters are a single occupant electronic transport vehicle and are used as a mobility aid. A solely battery operated device; it usually has between three and five wheels and is steered using a handlebar. Different scooters can be ridden either on the pavement or the road depending on speed capability and they may include a horn, lights and space for storage. They are often referred to as power-operated vehicle/scooters or electric scooters.

Mobility scooters are designed for and used by individuals who are able to walk and manipulate themselves on and off a seated object. Unlike wheelchairs, mobility scooters are generally treated as vehicles in the sense that they do not have to be guaranteed access into buildings. This means that in order to access services and activities users must be able to walk.


Studies of a range of assistive mobility devices for mobility found that users felt their device enabled them to participate in more activities, gave them greater independence and increased their sense of security.

Evidence specifically from mobility scooters show that users generally view their devices positively, associating them with the freedom to move independently outside the house, in some cases being housebound without them.


From a health literature perspective a mobility scooter can be seen as a walking and physical activity replacement. It enables its user to travel distances they previously would have made by foot (or short distance vehicle trips) without any physical effort.

For those that do struggle to walk due to Arthritis, lung diseases and heart failure the motorised scooter appears to be a great aid in giving them some independence back. Its fantastic that our ageing population has found a way to stay independent and get around outside of their home. The evidence supporting the health benefits of physical activity for older adults is well documented.


Regulations applied to the use of mobility scooters vary worldwide. In the process of writing this dispatch, the laws and regulations pertaining use of mobility scooters in North America (USA & Canada), Western Europe (UK, Germany), and Australia were examined.

None of the countries listed above require driving licenses in order to drive mobility scooters. Out of the listed countries, only Queensland (Australia), and The UK require vehicle registration. In these countries, registration is required for larger mobility scooters, class 3 vehicles. Regulations regarding use vary as well. The USA, Canada, and The UK allow driving on roads sidewalks or pedestrian pathways, while Australia, Japan, and Germany allow driving only on sidewalks and pedestrian pathways. An exception is made when sidewalks are not available.


There are many aspects of mobility scooter use that would be useful to explore. Given the evident upward trend of the use of mobility scooters this is crucial to understanding the role mobility scooters can play in individuals׳ lives.

Research, undertaken by the Accessibility Research Group at University College London is currently investigating the impact that mobility scooter use has on long term health in older people. This research is a longitudinal study using quantitative and qualitative data from mobility scooter users and non-mobility scooter users.


The warranted increase in the number of mobility scooters require special measures taken in order to ensure safety of mobility scooter drivers.

This may be achieved by making urban environments more inclusive of specific populations, by ensuring a safe environment for pedestrians and mobility scooter drivers and by promoting paths clear of obstacles, proper mobility scooter driving training and permitting, and appropriate maintenance of the mobility scooter.

Stakeholders involved include not only pedestrians and mobility scooter drivers but city administrators and planners who should take charge by providing the proper solutions pursuing appropriate research.

At stake are the safety of pedestrians and mobility scooter drivers, aspects of inclusion and sustainability in cities, as well as the wellbeing and independence of older people.

Ministry of Transportation
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