What To Know Before Starting Your Electric Scooter Journey
When it comes to retaining your independence and making sure you can still get to all the places you want to go with ease and comfort, using an electric scooter is a fantastic aid.
But if you’re new to owning one, whether you’re upgrading from wheelchair use or new to mobility aids, it’s important to ensure you have all the knowledge you need to operate your mobility scooter safely.
Understand Your Limitations
Having an electric scooter can be an amazing way of restoring your independence as you age or have disabilities, especially if you’ve been held back from doing all the things you want to do by mobility issues.
But, your mobility scooter is only a machine, and it’s important you understand how far you can push it.
This is especially important when it comes to the range and weight, knowing how far you can go (factoring in your return journey!), and how much weight the basket can handle. Having all this info is vital for helping you plan excursions.
This isn’t just important for planning, it’s also an important part of your scooter maintenance and upkeep. There are two common ways that going beyond your electric scooter’s limitations can cause stress on the motor, and risk damage, and that’s by exceeding the weight limitations or attempting to take the scooter up a slope that exceeds the incline rating.
Much like a car or bike, an electric scooter needs to be regularly maintained, especially if you plan on using it on a regular basis.
One of the most important areas of mobility scooter maintenance is the battery. There's nothing worse than preparing to go out, only to discover that your mobility scooter is unable to run because of a flat battery. That’s why it’s important to know what batteries your mobility scooter runs on, how long their expected life is, and to always remember to charge your mobility scooter when it’s not in use!
You should also have a regular schedule for cleaning and general maintenance — paying special attention to the tires and lights. Aim to keep the tires at the pressure suggested by the manufacturer, and replace them promptly after they’ve become worn down.
For lights, always replace dead bulbs before going out on the road. It’s also important to keep up with your general cleaning and maintenance, not just to ensure your mobility scooter looks good, but also because dirt and foreign debris can build up and cause mechanical and performance issues.
Operating Your Mobility Scooter
If you’re moving from a wheelchair to an electric scooter, or are trying one out for the first time, it’s important to understand some of the key ways you can keep yourself and others safe while you’re out and about.
The first thing you need to know are the rules regarding mobility scooters in British Columbia:
- You don’t need a license to operate a mobility scooter
- You are not required to have vehicle registration, license plates, or insurance
- Mobility scooters can be used on sidewalks or roads, and must follow the same rules as pedestrians
Because mobility scooters are operated on the same footing as pedestrians, you must be conscious of operating them in a way that accounts for this. Remember to give way wherever possible, and be careful of children and the elderly who may not react quickly.
Always plan ahead, know how far you need to go and for how long you plan on travelling, and make sure to take your phone with you.
Before you go out in public on your new electric scooter for the very first time, it’s a good idea to take a test drive wherever is safest to do so, in order to get a feel for how it will operate and adjust to the controls and maneuvering.
Prepare For Winter
Even if it seems like we’re still in the middle of summer, winter is already creeping up on the horizon, and for anyone hoping to operate a mobility scooter, this can be an especially treacherous time. Not that snow is such a concern on the Island, but rain and ice can be a concern.
As long as you take the right precautions, and remain careful, there’s no reason why you can’t use your mobility scooter in winter, provided the conditions are right.
Here’s a checklist for what you should keep in mind:
- Take extra care when navigating pavements, roads, and other surfaces that present an ice risk
- Wear multiple warm layers, including a waterproof top layer
- Keep in mind that the range of your mobility scooter will be reduced in cold weather
- If you aren’t using your mobility scooter throughout the winter, remember to keep the battery charged as if it fully depletes you may not be able to start it up again
If you’re looking for a mobility scooter, the best thing you can do is to buy from a trusted and experienced brand, one with a proven track record when it comes to quality and reliability. That’s exactly what we offer, browse our selection of electric scooters today and find the right one for you.