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3 Completely Inappropriate Uses for Your Mobility Scooter

By Jan Bolder - April 1, 2014

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A motorized scooter is a great boon for disabled seniors, as it gives them access to the world that was previously denied to them. No longer are shopping trips, doctors' visits or social appointments something that require huge planning, with a set of wheels letting them go anywhere they want. However, some seniors take matters far too much in their own hands, and take their mobility scooters where it's just not okay to.

Bicycle Lane

That little strip on the road between cars' lanes and the sidewalk is for bicycles, but some seniors see that as an opportunity to bypass the usual sidewalk traffic in favor of going a little faster. Only problem is, they're not as fast as bicycles and hold up that traffic. In turn, cyclists have to swerve into the regular lanes where cars zoom by much faster, and pass seniors on mobility scooters who aren't supposed to be there in the first place.

While it can be more than frustrating to use a mobility scooter on the sidewalk where people either walk too slow or don't make way, it's the proper place to be. One way to get around this is to install a horn or other noise-making device, and then gently beep it in advance the way a cyclist would with a bike bell. And one thing to keep in mind is there'll always be jerks who refuse to get out of the way—it happens all the time with cars—and to realize there's not much to be done about it.

Haul a Wagon Behind

A mobility scooter is meant to transport only the rider, and not act as a vehicle to which a trailer can be attached. There are vehicles that do just that, and mobility scooters just aren't designed for that. Not only can it make the whole contraption unsafe by attaching a load that may not have the proper strength requirements, but it also drastically lengthens the scooter.

It may seem like an innocuous way of transporting extra groceries, but doubling the length of a mobility scooter makes it incredibly hard for people to walk around you on the sidewalk. It's sort of the equivalent of wearing a dress with a long train around it everywhere: it's okay for special occasions, but not really appropriate for everyday use.

Able-Bodied Users

The whole idea of mobility scooters is to give disabled seniors a leg up so they can compete on the same playing ground as able-bodied seniors. And for able-bodied people to use them when they're clearly designated for disabled people is not just inappropriate, but also takes one vehicle off the road that someone else could really use.

And believe us when we say that if disabled seniors had the choice between tooling around on a mobility scooter or having a working body that can go wherever they want and do what it needs to do, the vast majority would choose the latter in a heartbeat.

If you're thinking of a mobility scooter, please, take a few minutes to think about if you're getting it for the right reasons. And if you already have one, then make sure you're using it in the right way.