Health and Mobility Scooters: Are You Well Enough to Drive a Scooter?

While most people use mobility scooters because of health conditions that prevent them from getting around as easily as they used to, this doesn't mean that this kind of transport is suitable for everyone with a mobility issue. In some cases, medical conditions and medications may make using a scooter less of a good idea than it seems on paper. What health considerations should you think about before you decide whether to start using a scooter or not?

Your Health and Mobility Scooters

Mobility scooters may not be as big or fast as cars, but they are still vehicles that can harm their drivers, pedestrians and, if you're riding on a road, other vehicles. While you may not need a driving licence to ride this kind of scooter, you should consider if any of your health issues affect your ability to drive safely.

Like any other vehicle, you need certain levels of physical ability to use a mobility scooter. For example, safe driving involves being able to see and hear what's going on around you. So, if you have a visual impairment that prevents you from having a clear view all around you or that affects your distance perception, then you may not be able to use a scooter safely.

It's also important that you are able to control the scooter, both in general riding terms and in a situation where you need to react rapidly, say if a pedestrian walks in front of you and you have to stop your scooter quickly. So, if you have a medical condition like arthritis, you may not find it so easy to use the scooter's controls or to get your hands working quickly enough in an emergency.

Tip: If you aren't sure whether it's a good idea to use a mobility scooter, talk to your doctor and ask if your medical conditions pose any problems. If you can use a scooter safely, but need a little extra help, then you should also talk to your local mobility scooter supplier. Not all mobility scooters are the same and your local supplier can advise you on the right scooter for your needs. For example, arthritis sufferers may find it easier to use a scooter that has controls set closer to the body; a scooter with lighter steering may be a better fit for people who have reduced arm strength or problems with their shoulders.

Medications and Mobility Scooters

The side effects of some medications may also affect your ability to use a mobility scooter. For example, if a medication blurs your vision or affects your physical reaction times, then this may be an issue. If you're on a short-term prescription, then this may not be a major problem – you can simply avoid using a scooter until you've finished taking your tablets. If you're on a long-term prescription, talk to your doctor to see if you can switch to a different medication that won't come with the same side effects.