Ride smart, ride safe: Getting mobile with a mobility scooter

Whether through age, injury or medical condition, sometimes our bodies don’t allow us to continue doing what want to do. Joints become stiff and walking or even being on your feet becomes a problem.

Mobility scooters take the stress off the body and allow people to enjoy regular daily activities others take for granted, says Neil Jefferis, manager of Victoria’s Canada Scooters, locally owned and operated for more than 20 years. Canada Scooters connects clients with mobility aids including scooters, walkers and aids, lift chairs, medical supplies and more.

“As you begin navigating streets and sidewalks with your new scooter, it’s important that you’re comfortable and riding safely,” says Jefferis, sharing a few safety tips to keep in mind as you take your new scooter for a spin:

Start safe

Ensure both you and your scooter are on a level surface and the scooter is turned off before you climb on. With your feet firmly on the deck, adjust the seat, tiller and backrest until you’re comfortable, ensuring the controls are within comfortable reach.

Turn the “speed adjustment dial” to slow, and turn the key ON, then when ready, gently push to move forward; to STOP, let go and the brakes will automatically engage.

To steer, simply turn the handlebars in the direction you’d like to go. Allow plenty of room for turns, especially around curbs and uneven sidewalks, steering in a wide arc around obstacles and corners.

Before dismounting, switch OFF your scooter and choose a level surface to dismount.

Remember, never turn your scooter off while it’s moving as this can cause irreparable damage.

Navigating tight spots

Getting used to different obstacles takes time and practice. To navigate tight spots, stop, turn the handlebars in your desired direction and gently apply power. Practice this in a safe, open area to gain confidence.

Reverse with caution and attention. Always ensure your “speed control dial” is set to slow before reversing and remember you’ll have to steer in the opposite direction.

Always travel down a ramp on “slow” to ensure safe, controlled descent. Releasing the control lever will bring you to a gentle stop.

Grass, Gravel and Inclines: While most Canada Scooters are intended for sidewalks, pavement and indoor surfaces, they can travel on grass, gravel and hills. A good rule of thumb is that if in doubt, avoid the terrain. Packed gravel, driveways and roads are rarely a problem, but avoid deep gravel and loose-packed sand.

For stability, only turn with all four wheels on level ground.

Before you attempt a gradient, or alternative terrain, make sure your scooter is working at its best. Always think safety first!

Weather watch: Inclement weather, wet or icy roads can be unsafe. Never drive through deep water or expose your scooter to heavy rain, which can cause irreparable damage.

Know how long your battery will last

The last thing you want is to be stuck away from home with a dead battery. A fully charged scooter with new batteries will typically travel more than 25 kilometres. Plan on charging your batteries overnight when using them regularly.

If you do store your scooter for a long time, fully charge it at least once a month.

Remember that if needed, you can manually push your scooter – a lever to engage or disengage the scooter is usually found at the back between the two rear tires.

To learn more visit canadascooters.com or call to explore your mobility options at 250-383-7383.

Seniors

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