The world of motorised accessibility has been a game-changer for millions of lives for over 70 years.
Ever since George Klein managed to electrify a concept created by Stephan Farffler in the 17th century, the mobility scooter and the powered wheelchair have enriched lives and allowed people greater independence than they otherwise might have had.
However, due to the fascinating history of their evolution, mobility scooters have a lot of interesting stories and fascinating facts related to their history and evolution.
Here are some of the most unique facts about them.
When looking into buying a scooter, amidst the range of options for different sizes, shapes, colours, and whether they need to fold or not, there is one option that perhaps requires the most consideration: 4mph or 8mph.
The reason for this distinction is a historical quirk in the Highway Code’s section on mobility vehicles. The Code recognises three classes of mobility vehicles:
- Class 1 manual wheelchairs that are rolled or pushed.
- Class 2 mobility vehicles that can travel up to 4mph.
- Class 3 mobility vehicles that can travel up to 8mph.
Traditionally, powered wheelchairs and lightweight indoor scooters would be class 2 and outdoor scooters and some heavy-duty powered wheelchairs would be class 3.
The latter are designed to be driven on the road, and so will have lights, reflectors, wing mirrors, an effective braking system and be somewhat more heavy-duty, and must be registered with the DVLA, although you do not need any license to drive them.
This means that when you buy your scooter, think about where you want to travel with it. If you plan on trips into town or to regularly visit the shops, then a class 3 vehicle is worth considering.
Public Transport And Mobility Scooters
Buses, trains and trams have taken great strides in enabling people who have wheelchairs and mobility scooters to access the vehicles and the process for doing so depends on the size of the scooter and the operator’s policy.
Typically, small scooters and folding scooters have similar dimensions to those required for wheelchair access, and so almost all public transport will allow them on, although some bus companies require permits or advance notice.
Trams vary considerably, as different city tram services have different policies and standards. It may be easier, for example, to use a motorised scooter on a Metrolink tram in Manchester than it would be to travel on the London Underground.
Get in touch with your travel operator and they will ensure arrangements are made so you can have a safe, comfortable and enjoyable journey.
Many mobility scooters break the mould, but some special cases break records as well.
The fastest ever mobility scooter, as recognised by Guinness World Records, was 112mph, which is considerably higher than the 8mph maximum allowed speed for mobility scooters in the UK.
However, this was a specially modified scooter used by the German car show GRIP – Das Motormagazin, and professional driver Sven Ohler wore motorcycle overalls and a protective helmet and rode on the DEKRA test oval track.