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Mobility Mythbusting

There are thousands of mobility-enhancing products you can use to help you move more freely, get where you need to go, and stay active.

Not all mobility-enhancing products are the same. And the way they’re used isn’t the same for everyone, either. Some people just need a bit of extra support, while others need more from their wheels. There’s no right or wrong—it’s a matter of finding what works for you.

First, it’s important to note that mobility is a spectrum. 11 million people have a mobility-challenging illness, impairment, or disability in the UK. Scooters and powerchairs simply allow those with limited mobility to move freely and for longer periods of time. Despite the widespread use of mobility-enhancing devices, myths still abound. That can make things confusing when you’re trying to decide what’s right for you.

So: we’re going to bust some myths about mobility. Here’s a rundown of some of the most common ones—and their reality.

You need permission from your GP or an NHS referral to get a mobility scooter or powerchair.

Mobility scooters aren’t just a medical tool. They’re a lifestyle product. They enable millions of people to go about their day-to-day lives with incredible ease.

They’re not available from the NHS. So, you don’t need permission from anyone else to buy a mobility product. If you’re considering getting one, it’s likely because you want to increase your independence and make life easier. Not because the doctor has ordered it.

You need to be severely disabled to use a mobility scooter.

Mobility scooters are suitable for anyone with limited mobility.

People find them helpful for both short and long-distance outings. They certainly make everyday trips to the shops or walking the dog easier.

But they’re equipped to deal with long distances, too. So, you can take your mobility device to the beach or around a National Trust property. It all depends on the model you choose to match your lifestyle.

Mobility scooters are too expensive.

It’s true that mobility scooters can appear costly, but their value is a long-term investment and worth the quality of life they provide. Not only do mobility scooters make your life easier, but they also help save money in the long run. When you have a mobility tool, you might spend less money on everyday transport like taxis, buses, and grocery deliveries.

If you’re having trouble paying for your mobility scooter, there are charity grants available. Motability is a government backed scheme that uses Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment. To qualify for the Motability, you’ll need to be awarded the higher rate mobility component of your allowance.

Mobility scooters are ugly.

Mobility scooters have come a long way from their ‘granny scooter’ stereotype.

Many have a perception of mobility scooters being “these massive ugly tanks from the NHS” according to Dr Hannah Barnam-Brown, disability campaigner and TGA Ambassador.

In fact, mobility scooters and powerchairs are often lightweight and portable enough to carry in your car. Hannah sees her powerchair as a lifestyle accessory and chose bright red sides to complement the colour of her hair.

And if you want to personalise your ride, it’s easy to change the features and add new accessories. You can update your exterior – and add useful accessories for shopping trips or hiking expeditions.

Mobility scooters are exclusively for the elderly.

Mobility scooters are for anyone who has trouble walking or balancing, regardless of age. They’re not simply for the elderly.

Many people feel reserved when confronted with the idea of using a mobility device because of this myth. But the reality is they help millions of people of all ages become more independent in their daily lives.

The overall appearance of mobility scooters has also come a long way with a lot of models being design-conscious and opting for sleeker looking features.

Mobility scooters are the same as wheelchairs.

This is one of the most common myths about mobility scooters. In fact, these are two different types of products with different uses and benefits.

How they are used and the reasons for needing them can be very similar, but they equally have valuable attributes that offer mobility aid.

Mobility scooters are more common among users who have limited mobility but might be able to walk in short bursts. They’re powered by batteries have an adjustable seat and steering column and can travel much longer distances than wheelchairs. (Though there are some wheelchairs with large batteries and long range.)

A wheelchair is often used for indoor and outdoor mobility. It’s easy to fold up and transport but doesn’t provide longer journey or more extreme terrain options like a mobility scooter does. A mobility scooter gives you greater flexibility range and terrain so you can enjoy more places, more easily.

They’re also easier to assemble, disassemble and store than wheelchairs.

Learning to drive a mobility scooter is easy.

While most people who use mobility scooters find them intuitive and easy to manoeuvre, some new users do face challenges with spatial barriers (e.g., getting through doorways).

Learning how to drive your mobility scooter is going to take a bit of getting used to. In fact, one of the challenges that many new users face when they first start out is how quickly they can move.

Mobility scooters are outfitted with a plethora of safety features, so you’ll feel safe using it in no time. And the organisation Driving Mobility offers guidance and training on how to drive a mobility scooter.

People treat mobility scooter users differently.

Let’s face it: sometimes people treat those with disabilities differently than others. But that doesn’t mean you should let it stop you from getting outside and doing what you love.

Those with mobility issues often fear that people will treat them negatively once they use a mobility device, but this isn’t the case.

Most people are understanding and compassionate, and your friends and family will continue to treat you with the same respect they always have.

It’s true that others can be more attentive to people using mobility aids, but this isn’t always negative. Granted, there may be some awkward social responses – i.e., someone treats you as if you need extra help when they see your scooter. But those people are few and far between.

Everyone else will simply see you as someone who has the means to live their life on their own terms.

It’s too late to get a mobility product.

No matter how long you’ve needed or wanted a mobility product, it’s never too late to enjoy the freedom and independence that come with better mobility.

Mobility scooters are hard and costly to maintain.

Mobility devices are low-maintenance and don’t need much upkeep beyond regular charging. Quality mobility scooters are built to last and need servicing every twelve months by an accredited technician for safety reasons. Our products are reliable, but in the unlikely event that something goes wrong, you’re covered with our two-year warranty.

Mobility scooters are difficult and expensive to keep charged.

Depending on the model, the average cost to fully charge a scooter’s battery is 15 pence to 30 pence.

Modern mobility devices can go for up to 100km on a single charge. That’s 1/4th of the expanse of the Grand Canyon.

So, there’s no need to worry about battery life or energy costs — just remember to charge it regularly.

Two models in particular offer an impressive battery life. The Scoozy powerchair’s dual battery option provides a large range. Scooters with the longest range are Breeze S3 or S4 with 48km.

You can’t travel on public transport with a mobility scooter.

While there are some caveats in terms of plane travel, both scooters and powerchairs can travel safely on trains and buses. That includes the London Underground and local bus networks. Check with transport operators to confirm if your scooter meets the right requirements before travelling.

We are currently working with leading organisations, such as the TFL and Northern Rail, to help them meet their accessibility goals – and reach even further in future.

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