Purpose and portability are key
New technology has resulted in a greater variety of mobility devices which are lighter weight, often more portable and less expensive than ever before.
The breakthrough came about a decade ago when small powerful motors running off lithium batteries began showing up in industrial and consumer products, such as electric cars. Change is fast these days and new products appear often. We’ve learned that whether or not a mobility products facility carries a specific product is often dependent on what they’re certified to assemble and repair so we suggest that if you find something you’re interested in trying or buying, you contact various disability equipment provider to inquire about availability. Also, things change so quickly these days, you might try again in a few months if you aren’t able to find what you want at first go.
Independent Living Centres Australia (ILCA) http://ilcaustralia.org.au/ is a collective network with member ILC’s from each Australian state and the ACT. They provide independent, commercially unbiased, actionable information and advice, and raise awareness of the role that Assistive Technology plays in enabling whole life participation in the broader community. Their website is a great resource with a ton of information under “scooter and wheeled mobility”. Information is divided in sections: Three Wheeled Scooters, Four Wheeled Scooters and Small Travel Scooters. They offer supplier information and tell you where you might be able to see devices on display. We’ll show you some of the more unusual devices in each of their categories to give you some idea of what’s available.
Three Wheeled Scooters
There are now some super light three wheeled, sit down scooters! Here are a few of the 34 different models from ILCA’s website.
On their own website they claim, “The TravelScoot is by far the world’s lightest and most compact electric mobility scooter. It’s the ideal scooter for everyone who’s feet are not playing along but who are otherwise still in a fairly good shape.” This model, the TravelScoot Deluxe weighs 16KG. Price is currently listed at $2,675.
Here’s one with a rechargeable electric motor and a weight of only 12.5KG. Listed price $2,675.
Lynn Tullock, senior neurological physiotherapist at Advance Rehab Centre in Sydney reports that patients of hers with a TravelScoot are very pleased with it, especially due to its lightweight and portability. It folds up and can be stored in the overhead bin on flights, making it convenient for travel.
Afikim Porter SE Mobility Scooter
Here is a heavy duty outdoor model with headlight and rear view mirrors and availability of a two seat model. (Price P.O.A.)
Easy Travel Elite Scooter by Tzora
This is a three wheeled sit down scooter with an in-wheel motor. Yes – the motor is actually in the front wheel! This saves on space and weight. It is foldable and disassembles into two parts for transport. Total weight is 25KG. Priced from $2395.
Four Wheeled Scooters
Here are some of the more unusual of the 85 different scooters in this category from ILCA’s website.
Nybro Venture Gold Series 2 Seater 4WD Scooter
This is a battery operated, four-wheel drive scooter with two in-line seats. The seats rotate a full 360 degrees. Designed for adult outdoor use and over rough terrain. It is also available as a two wheel drive vehicle. Optional hybrid version enables switching between petrol and electric power, allowing for longer travel distances. Price $13,990 plus GST
Shoprider Rainrider Scooter
This scooter is a rear wheel drive, four wheeled scooter, with a solid cover designed for outdoor use to protect the adult user from the weather. The scooter features a delta style tiller, with finger-operated controls. The base has front and rear suspension. The side windows can be opened, and vents allow air to the front window. The removable doors use a lockable, push down lever to open and are hinged at the rear. The vinyl covered, contoured and padded seat can recline. (Price P.O.A.)
Shoprider 889 Golf Four Wheeled Scooter
A large four-wheel battery powered scooter for outdoor use. It has finger and thumb operated controls and a weight capacity of 227kg. The large 330mm wheels have front and rear suspension and a high ground clearance. It features front and rear lights. (Price P.O.A.)
Heartway Vita S12 Four Wheel Scooter
A rear wheel drive scooter for use outdoors and on rough terrain. Features include finger controls, front double wishbone suspension and mono shock rear suspension. The scooter has a contoured seat which can be removed for transport and an off board charger. A range of accessories is available. Price $5,490
Small Travel Scooters
While ILCA’s site lists 28 different products under this category, we’ve seen some of them before in their 3 wheel and 4 wheel categories. Here are a few of the additions.
Solax Mobie Portable Mobility Scooter
A four wheeled, compact scooter that is able to fold for transport. The Mobie folds into a suitcase that features small wheels and a handle so it is able to be pulled around. The mobie portable scooter lifter (PR18391) can also be used to lift folded scooter into the boot of a vehicle. (Price P.O.A.)
Freerider Luggie Elite Portable Travel Scooter
A lightweight rear wheel drive four wheeled scooter that folds compactly for transportation. Suitable for indoor and outdoor use on flat, even surfaces. It is not suitable for off road or off road like surfaces. It has a LED colour battery indicator display, extendable handlebars, armrests, higher capacity battery and higher carrying capacity and a slightly wider seat. Price $3795
Range of Segway Personal Transporters
A range of electrically powered transportation devices that operates through the shift of the user’s body weight. The user can either stand on the device, or a seat can be customised. Available in two models and with a range of options and accessories.
Information for all of the above mentioned devices was available on ILCA’s website at the time of publication. Here are a few more devices that currently exist. They may be harder to find in Australia today but we’ll list them here because things are changing so quickly.
The Triad is a three-wheel electric mobility scooter. One nice thing about the Triad, from their website, “Eye Level Shopping: Independence you deserve at eye level with those you interact with on the Triad 750 electric scooter. Other medical device type scooters seem to keep you below eye level away from easy shopping and unable to reach items on your own.”
You can see more here: http://triadmotion.com/
The Foldaway Electric Chariot
This electric scooter allows sitting or standing up and folds-up for portability.
TRX 3 Wheel Electric Scooter
This is a stand up, rechargeable electric scooter that balances itself like a Segway. Currently on a US site, (and currently out of stock) the price is listed at $369 US, equivalent to about $435A.
(This scooter is also listed on Fishpond.com.au but currently unavailable)
Much like the Segway standup scooter, this Mini Seg has a net weight of less than 18KG. Here’s more about the device on a US website.
Here’s an informative article (from Summer 2011) by an HSPer from the US as he traveled the world with his Segway (see pages 7-9):
So, there is a lot of equipment available out there! If you have considered getting a device or if it’s time to upgrade, maybe some of this information will be helpful. Aside from all of the above information, you can learn more by checking for videos of specific devices in action on Youtube.com. Too, prices will likely vary as you check different sources. Ask suppliers about a test drive before purchase.
Unfortunately there is complexity around using a device in public as a “disability device”. Certain devices in certain places can be considered hazardous to pedestrians. While we can’t possibly list all the different rules/devices/places that might affect you, here is a site that examines restrictions in different parts of the world for Segway devices. Rules and regulations about taking mobility devices on aircraft can also vary from airline to airline and place to place.